Don’t adopt a one size fits all approach in fixing the age threshold for classifying children under the PDPB – Manish Tewari, Hon’ble MP, & Member, JPC

January 18, 2022

Speaking in the webinar ‘Data Protection Bill 2021: Deciphering the Privacy & Rights of Minors’ co-organised by CCAOI, CUTS and ISOC–Delhi Chapter, Mr Manish Tewari, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (MP), & Member of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDPB) cautioned against adopting a one size fits all approach in specifying the age threshold for classifying children, and mandating parental consent under the PDPB. He suggested having a differential approach wherein the threshold for requiring parental consent of processing children’s data be different for different categories of content and services.

Seconding this viewpoint was Dr. Amar Patnaik, Hon’ble MP, and Member of JPC, who highlighted the vast geographical and cultural differences prevailing across the country, which requires to be accounted for, while fixing the age threshold for classifying children. He further questioned the rationale of not including children’s data stored in a non-digitised form, by schools and colleges, under the ambit of the PDPB.

Nikhil Pahwa, Medianama, cited the example of use of artificial intelligence in education which is based on behavioural tracking and monitoring the performance of the child. In this context, he opined that not all tracking is bad and blanket prohibition of tracking children’s online activities by service providers may do more harm than good. He further recommended having a separate public discussion and legislation on ensuring a safe online experience for children, instead of superficially touching upon the issue within the PDPB.

Amol Kulkarni, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), pointed out the importance of engaging credible civil society organisations and consumer groups, to create awareness and build capacity of children to safely navigate the online world. He further stressed upon the need of involving young adults in regulation-making on issues impacting them.

From a business perspective, Uthara Ganesh, Snapchat, and S. Chandrashekhar, K&S Partners, brought forth the importance of platforms adopting the principle of privacy by design through practices like data minimisation, purpose limitation, among others, which will help in ensuring the privacy of children online. They also mentioned a few good practices for ensuring children’s online safety, such as content moderation, as well as age verification of users using technology, in a least privacy intrusive manner.

Other notable speakers in the webinar included Amrita Choudhury, CCAOI, moderator of the panel discussion; Sreenidhi Srinivasan, Ikigai Law, presented the changes made in the PDPB by the JPC, wrt protecting children’s data, and highlighted few good international practices; Sidharth Narayan, CUTS presented key findings from a recent consumer survey conducted by CUTS on the subject; and Aparajita Bharti, Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC).

The webinar was attended by over 100 participants, comprising of media personnel, industry players, consumer group representatives, among others. As the way forward, CUTS and CCAOI would facilitate the preparation of a community document on protecting children’s data, with inputs from subject experts, and organisations working at the grassroots, among other stakeholders.


For further details, contact:

Vijay Singh, at

Amol Kulkarni, at