Digital privacy in Asia: Setting the agenda

June 09, 2016
Ahmed T Rashid

IDRC-supported research has shown that, as more and more people go online in Asia, digital privacy is increasingly seen as an important political and consumer right. A survey of Asian countries revealed widespread concern among citizens about protecting their personal data and Internet privacy. The report, A New Dawn: Privacy in Asia, summarizes the findings of the research.

The report underscores the need for informed policy debates on protecting privacy and the dangers of surveillance. Project grantees played an important role in advocating for institutional and policy change at national and international levels, including:

  • contributing to discussions on privacy at international events such as the Internet Governance Forum.
  • the creation of two new organizations in Asia, Privacy India and Privacy Nepal. These organization will generate knowledge and monitor digital privacy issues in the region, including privacy rights, personal data protection, and surveillance;
  • contributing to the public discourse on India’s Unique Identification Number (UID) program by arguing for privacy provisions to be part of both the design of the program and the proposed legal framework. UID proposes to collect biometric data of all Indian citizens and residents;

The report, published by Privacy International, highlights the rapid development of laws, technologies, and attitudes in Asia in the past decade and also points to what must be done to ensure that protecting the right to privacy remains at the heart of all government initiatives.