Digital Personal Data Protection Act - Impact on Marketers in India

The enactment of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDPA), India's inaugural data privacy statute, is a critical development in the country's digital ecosystem. As the digital frontier expands, understanding the ramifications of this new regulatory framework is essential for all entities handling personal data.

The DPDPA introduces stringent compliance requirements to bolster user privacy throughout India. It's imperative for marketers to grasp these changes and their impacts on marketing practices.


With projections suggesting India will host 900 million internet users by 2025, adding approximately 10 million new users each month, the need for a robust data protection law has never been more apparent. The global landscape has seen similar movements, with regions like Europe and California (through GDPR and CCPA/CPRA, respectively) setting precedents.

Before the DPDPA, India's data privacy measures were governed by the Information Technology Act, of 2000. The Supreme Court of India recognized privacy as a fundamental right in 2017 under Article 21 of the Constitution, but specific regulations for data privacy remained absent until the recent legislation.

The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023

Officially signed into law by the President of India on August 11, 2023, the DPDPA significantly affects businesses that handle data in any capacity. It outlines detailed requirements for user consent, data handling procedures, and penalties for non-compliance. Notably, the Act also applies extraterritorially if it involves the data of individuals within India.

Definition of Personal Data: The Act defines personal data broadly, meaning any data that can identify an individual, such as a combination of a photograph and company name, is considered personal.

Applicability: The DPDPA applies to both citizens and non-citizens in India, and international entities dealing with Indian users.

Implementation Timeline: The Act will be enforced following a notification by the Government of India, expected to be fully implementable by the end of 2024. This timeline coincides with significant changes in global data practices, like Google Chrome ending support for third-party cookies.

The newly established Data Protection Board of India will oversee compliance, addressing complaints, and functioning with civil court powers to impose penalties. Organizations are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer and an Independent Data Auditor to ensure adherence to the Act.

Consent Architecture

A key provision impacting user experience is the consent architecture mandated by the bill. It requires explicit consent from individuals for collecting or processing their personal data. This consent can also be withdrawn at any time, compelling companies to provide easily accessible mechanisms to facilitate this. By making consent the cornerstone of the privacy framework, the DPDP bill empowers citizens with greater control over their data. It flips the status quo where user information could be processed without approvals unless individuals specifically opted out. Companies now need to re-engineer communication strategies to be transparent on data use and win consent through trust. The burden is on platforms to convince users of responsible privacy practices, not just assume passive acceptance.

Important Clauses for Marketers

While every part of the DPDPA is critical, certain clauses require particular attention from marketers:

Clause 4: Details the lawful grounds for processing personal data.

Clause 6: Discusses requirements around obtaining and managing consent for data processing.

Clause 7: Outlines the necessity and justification for processing personal data.

Clause 8: Specifies the obligations of data fiduciaries, including marketers and businesses, in handling personal data.

Clause 9: Addresses the processing of personal data for children under 18 years of age.

Clauses 11, 12, 13, & 14: Enumerate the rights of users concerning their personal data, including access, correction, erasure, and grievance redressal.

Clause 16: Expands the law’s jurisdiction to include data processing outside India if it involves data of individuals within India.

Strategic Adjustments for Marketers

First-party Data Emphasis: With increased restrictions on third-party data, marketers should pivot to first-party data, leveraging direct user interactions.

Robust Data Governance: Regular audits and data protection assessments will be critical to comply with the DPDPA and avoid significant penalties.

Privacy-Centric Marketing Tools: Integration of technologies that support privacy while enabling marketing personalization, such as Meta's Conversions API and Google's Enhanced Conversions, will be vital.

The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, of 2023, introduces both challenges and opportunities for marketers. It demands a shift towards more transparent and user-centric data practices but also offers a chance to build deeper trust and engagement with consumers. Marketers must educate their teams, conduct regular audits, consult with data privacy experts, and embrace technologies that support compliance and marketing efficacy. This strategic approach will not only ensure compliance but also enhance the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts in the evolving data privacy landscape.