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Laws needed for govt use of citizen data: Experts

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), on Monday, released the ‘India Data Accessibility and Use’ draft policy which wants to make data sharing compulsory for all government agencies in a centralised database has drawn criticism from data experts, who are weary of the privacy and monetisation of citizen data.

The experts stated that the current Information Technology Act, 2000 governs usage of personal data by private corporations but there is no policy to govern personal data usage by the government.

“The intention behind considering non-personal data as a community or national resource is commendable, but data monetization should not happen at the cost of individual privacy,” said Salman Waris, partner, TechLegis. “Otherwise, it would defeat the very purpose of the personal data protection law.”

“The draft policy will be a good test of governance structures around data anonymization, interoperability and sharing along with practices such as creating high value datasets given that there are hundreds of government agencies and PSUs involved,” said Parminder Jeet Singh, executive director of Policy for Change, a think tank.

“Once these models are carefully deliberated and are evolved, government should not stop here. Between 80-90% of data of citizens is held by private companies, so the government should bring a law to enable data sharing for and between companies as well,” Singh, who was also a member of the Gopalakrishnan committee on NPD, said.

CT Bureau

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