Stalled personal data protection Bill faces further delay

Deliberations on the highly anticipated Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill are now expected to carry over into the next House of Representatives sitting period, several lawmakers have confirmed, even as the commission in charge pushed through a week-long rally of secret meetings to get the legislation passed by the next plenary.

The House Commission I overseeing defence, foreign affairs, informatics and intelligence is currently fast-tracking the PDP Bill after lawmakers and the government agreed on a sticking point that had been stalling progress since 2014.

Now both sides have come to a compromise regarding the establishment of a data protection oversight agency, which would be set up to answer to the president while offering legislators leeway in determining its scope of authority.

House Commission I lawmaker Rizki Natakusumah from the Democratic Party said that a presidential regulation would be used to establish the agency, but that the House would ensure that it remained objective in the implementation of the PDP Bill, whether it involved government agencies or private institutions.

Previously, the two sides were at odds regarding the agency’s independence; the government wanted the entity to be placed under the Communications and Information Ministry, whereas lawmakers wanted it to be independent to prevent any conflicting interests.

With the real bone of contention out of the way, lawmakers have been speeding up deliberations of the Bill, which many expect would provide clear guidelines for law enforcers to punish the illegal use of personal data.

As with several other pieces of legislation, lawmakers have opted to deliberate on the Bill away from the public eye, sharing little in the way of updates and leaving digital rights activists and journalists guessing about the outcome.

Since it was first drafted and proposed by the government in 2014, the Bill has been slow to start and was even delayed several times. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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