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SC petitioned on invasion of privacy, central database profiling

Relief has been sought in Sri Lanka’s highest court against at attempt by the Department of Registration of Persons to build a central database with comprehensive data, profiling every citizen, containing entire family trees and giving “virtually unrestricted access to any information concerning any citizen recorded with any public authority”.

The petitioner said the regulations were unreasonable, capricious arbitrary and breached the reasonableness, fairness, proportionality, legitimate expectation, natural justice.

The regulations were issued under a law already passed in Parliament, which gives the defence secretary powers to examine the record of any citizen, even those who had not committed any crime, without a court order.

The petition comes after Indian courts ruled in favour of citizens who protested an electronic ID and database, which was subject to widespread abuse and hacking.

The petitioner said Sri Lanka citizens ran the risk of hacking as the database would become a magnet for hackers, and be abused by interested parties for personal or political gain.

The regulations sought data on the person, his family, children, spouse, building an entire family tree in a central database. The regulation also seeks divorce case files and email addresses.

“…The collection of a full family tree of all citizens with information concerning each person offers little or no public service or benefit,” the petitioner said. “However, it would enable the identification and monitoring of relatives of a particular individual and will enable the targeting of family members of opponents for personal or political gain. Courtesy - ECONOMYNEXT