Draft data accessibility and use policy

Context:

  • Recently the Ministry of electronics and information technology released the draft India data accessibility and use policy for public consultation.
  • The draft aims at providing a mechanism for harnessing the public data, this data can be used for various purposes such as public services and other digital transactions.

Background:

  • The draft largely concentrates on non-personal data that is available with the public sector.
  • This policy seeks to harness this data for data-based intelligence governance and economic development.
  • The core principle of the draft policy is bringing in public participation and bring in awareness among the public.
  • One of the core objective of the draft policy which is mentioned is the open data which will be available in the open forum.
  • This raises few concerns about the privacy of the individuals given the threat of cyber security it poses a ethical and procedural dilemma to balance the risk of data miss use.
  • The draft policy assumes that just with anonymized Data that the privacy of the individuals will be protected.
  • Even in the case of anonymous citizens data downstream processing can pose serious risks to the privacy of the citizens.
  • Considering that India has no personal data protection law this draft policy becomes problematic.

Trusteeship approach:

  • This draft policy says that the owners of the nonpersonal data will be the government which is against the Twenty20 report of the MEITY committee of experts on non-personal data governance.
  • This committee was of the opinion that the ownership of this non-personal data should be on trusteeship basis.
Who holds the data resources?
  • In the present situation it is the private sector that holds the large and most valuable data resources.
  • So it is a challenge for the state to bring in Socio economic innovation for the ease of governance.
  • In this context we can quote the example of European union where it has pooled in Common set of resources focusing on a few sectors.
  • This data can be used in areas such as health energy agriculture and other public sectors.
Way forward:
  • There is a need for a new social contract for data where the social comments of data is governed as a common thing that belongs to all citizens.
  • The government is the custodian or the trustee which shall take the responsibility to promote the usage of data for public good.
  • It is necessary to ensure that the data and other aspects related to it shall be democratized through a accountable institutional mechanism.

Source: THE HINDU.

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