In news–The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has released the ‘Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022’ recently.
About the draft Policy-
- It aims to radically transform India’s ability to harness public sector data and to harness the economic value of the generated data.
- The policy will be applicable to all data and information created and collected by the Central Government.
- It would also allow State governments to adopt its provisions.
- Its operationalisation will be achieved through the establishment of a India Data Office (IDO) for overall management.
- It says that India Data Council, comprising IDO and chief data officers shall be constituted with the objective of undertaking tasks that require deliberation across ministries, departments and state governments.
- This council will define frameworks for high-value data sets, finalize data standards and metadata standards and review policy implementation, among others.
- However, it is not indicated whether the India Data Council will have non-governmental participation from industry, civil society or technologists.
- The policy strategy is to make Government data open by default and then maintain a negative list of datasets which cannot be shared.
- The envisioned policy outcomes include unlocking high-value data across the economy, facilitating a congruent and robust governance strategy, realizing an interoperable digital infrastructure and data skills and data-driven culture.
- Definition of more sensitive categories which should have restricted access is left to the independent government ministries.
- Government datasets including high-value datasets will be shared freely within government departments and also licensed to the private sector.
- As a measure of privacy protection, there is a recommendation for anonymisation and privacy preservation.
Privacy issues with this Policy are:
- India does not have a data protection law that can provide accountability and remedy for privacy violations such as coercive and excessive data collection or data breaches.
- Inter-departmental data sharing poses concerns related to privacy since the open government data portal which contains data from all departments may result in the creation of 360 degree profiles and enable state-sponsored mass surveillance.
- Even though the policy considers anonymisation as a desired goal there is a lack of legal accountability and independent regulatory oversight.
- There is also a failure to consider scientific analysis and the availability of automated tools for the re-identification of anonymous data.