Regulation of Dark Patterns: Lessons for India [PART II]

About the author: Sriya Sridhar author is a practicing lawyer specializing in intellectual property and technology law. She also works as a Researcher on artificial intelligence and fairness with the Institute for Internet and Just Society in Berlin. She graduated from OP Jindal Global University in the year 2020.


On 15th March, 2021, the legislature of California banned the use of ‘dark patterns’ through an amendment in an effort to strengthen the enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). Through this ban, California is attempting to “ensure that consumers will not be confused or misled when seeking to exercise their data privacy rights”, as stated by California Attorney General. In essence, dark patterns are user interfaces present in websites or applications that are designed to mislead users into giving away their rights and personal data, or trick them into making certain choices that they may otherwise not make. With legislators across the USA and the EU attempting to devise solutions to effectively regulate dark patterns, it is crucial for regulators in India to take note of the same. This is especially considering the ongoing deliberations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (“JPC”) on the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“PDP Bill”), and the additional extension it has received to present its report in the monsoon session of Parliament in 2021.

This post is divided into two parts. Part I examines the need for regulation of dark patterns, the exist