Thanks to professor Raymond Wacks, possibly the world leading authority on privacy and privacy-related issues, I had the chance to read a more-than-500-pages-long privacy decision issued by the Indian Supreme Court last August 27. Definitely, a text that worth to be read.
This Indian decision is a journey into time and space, from the very beginning of the notion of privacy to its latest, technology-affected evolution. It is a primer and a “must read” for whoever claim to be a “privacy expert” (I bet my two cents that in the next months, the world will be divided between those who claim to have mastered this text, and those that actually did it.)
But the decision is far for perfect.
For instance, in the section dedicated to global control, the Court writes:
22. George Orwell created a fictional State in ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’ Today, it can be a reality. The technological development today can enable not only the state, but also big corporations and private entities to be the ‘big brother’.
But this is factually wrong as “Big Brother” is about re-writing history, not “just” about infringing privacy. In 1984, privacy infringement is a mean to an end, and not an end in itself.
Furthermore, as in its Western counterparts, the decision contains several “concessions” to the ICT marketing buzzwords (the part related to Airbnb as a hotel-less company, Uber as a car-less company etc.) and to Western-style mantra (no pun intended) as in the case of Big Data that sometimes hamper the soundness of the legal reasonment.
On the contrary, I find absolutely fascinating the part that describes the Indian Constitution as a living tree. This image carries a powerful meaning and shows how only a judge grown in a thousand and thousand years’ old culture can write simple and striking sentences such as
What is beautiful in this biological, organic growth is this: While the tree appears to be great and magnificent, apparently incapable of further growth, there are always new branches appearing, new leaves and buds growing.