Parental Consent to be stored in Digilockers

August 31, 2023
system of DigiLocker

By Anuradha Gandhi and Rachita Thakur


The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), under the Digital India Programme, initiated a flagship programme ‘DigiLocker’ aimed at providing citizens a secure document access platform on a public record.

DigiLocker is a platform for issuance and verification of documents and certificates digitally thereby eliminating the use of physical documents. The system of DigiLocker has brought in a paradigm shift towards inculcating digital governance practices and helped citizens and organizations to accept and adopt paperless documentation. These documents are considered legally valid documents under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Further, as per Rule 9A of the Information (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing DigiLocker Facilities) Rules, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”) the documents issued via Digital Locker are to be treated at par with original documents.

Rule 2(f) of the Rules define ‘DigiLocker’ as the Government owned and operated web and mobile based hosting of Digital Locker system. The system of DigiLocker was initiated to fulfill the purpose of providing preservation and retention of machine readable, printable, shareable, verifiable and secure State or Central department or agency or body corporate issued electronic record.[1] The services under this system is provided by “Digital Locker service provider” who is an intermediary including a body corporate or an agency of the appropriate Government, as may be notified by the Government, to provide Digital Locker , access gateways and, or, repository electronically, in accordance with the Rules.[2]

Relevance of DigiLocker can be understood from the fact that more than 15 crore people have signed up for DigiLocker and the platform has access to more than 5.6 billion digital documents.[3]

DigiLocker and Parental Consent

The Government is crafting a mechanism to authenticate the identity of parents and their children through online repository, DigiLocker. That is to say that social media intermediaries like Meta’s Facebook, Instagram and Google’s YouTube kids will be directly able to directly access and verify the documentations of teenagers’ parents stored in DigiLocker to secure parental consent.

About mapping of children with parents and children’s privacy

The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 classifies children as minors i.e. individuals under the age of 18 years. While all the social media platforms permit users over 13 years old, the implementation of the Data Protection Law means that these platforms will now have to obtain parental consent for users between the age groups of 13 years and 18 years thereby confirming the identity of both the child and parents.

Likewise, if a parents agree to share the data, they will have to enter a one-time password (OTP) to provide consent. This consent will then be recorded in the parents’ consent ledger. The method of linking is still under process.[4] The mechanism will be such that the parents would be required to declare all their children hence consequently allowing mapping of children with their parents.

Associated Risks-A pivotal concern

The mechanism to map children with parents is under development.[5] However, due to lack of clarity on the practical aspects and applicability of the law and its mandate there are a number of concerns that hover around the privacy of children.

At present, there is no legal framework to define a family for the purposes of providing parental consent to social media intermediaries. The extent to which such consent will be provided along with the process of providing access to social media platforms with the access to documents in DigiLocker. Whether every platform will have the access to store the valid identity cards of parents and children? For how long will the consent be valid and whether the platforms be required to seek confirmation from parents at regular intervals are some questions that need to be considered by the government while preparing the mechanism.

Furthermore, mandating storing of consent in DigiLocker would mandatorily imply that every parent must ensure that they have DigiLocker to provide consent to social media platforms. Another scenario that seeps in here is where the parents do not wish to give access to social media platforms with their identification documents. Will there be an alternative option be given to parents under such circumstances? Perhaps that makes it important for the government to issue safeguard guidelines to be observed by the social media platforms to assure security of data collected.

Preservation of digital documents in other countries – The growing demand and popularity of DigiLocker

India’s indigenously developed digital goods, also known as India Stack, have been popularly used for e-governance and have attracted much attention from across the world. India Stack includes apps such as UPI (Unified Payment Interface), CoWIN, Aarogya Setu and DigiLocker, among others. As per the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in January 2023, around seven countries will sign up for India Stack.

With absence of a system to preserve digital public documents in majority of the nations, it was reported that the countries signing agreements with India for India Stack, were mostly interested in DigiLocker at the World Government Summit held in Dubai in February, 2023.[7] Consequently, since June 2023, India has entered into MoU with Trinidad and Tobago amongst countries such as Armenia, Sierra Leone, Suriname, and Antigua & Barbuda to share India Stack with them.[8]

[1] Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules, 2016.
[2] Rules 2(l) of the Information Technology (Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries Providing Digital Locker Facilities) Rules, 2016.
[3] Kindly refer to the link:,academic%20institutions%2C%20and%20other%20organizations
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