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Current Affairs

Non-personal data

Date: 16 July 2020 Tags: IT, Mobile & Computers

Issue

A government committee headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has suggested that non-personal data generated in the country be allowed to be harnessed by various domestic companies and entities. 

 

Background

It has also suggested setting up of a new authority that would be empowered to monitor the use and mining of such non-personal data.

 

Details

  • Non-personal data is any set of data which does not contain personally identifiable information. This in essence means that no individual or living person can be identified by looking at such data.

  • For example, while order details collected by a food delivery service will have the name, age, gender, and other contact information of an individual, it will become non-personal data if the identifiers such as name and contact information are taken out.

  • The government committee has classified non-personal data into three main categories, namely public non-personal data, community non-personal data and private non-personal data.

  • Depending on the source of the data and whether it is anonymised in a way that no individual can be re-identified from the data set, the three categories have been divided.

  • All the data collected by the government and its agencies such as census, data collected by municipal corporations on the total tax receipts in a particular period or any information collected during execution of all publicly funded works has been kept under the umbrella of public non-personal data.

  • Any data identifiers about a set of people who have either the same geographic location, religion, job, or other common social interests will form the community non-personal data.

  • Private non-personal data can be defined as those which are produced by individuals which can be derived from the application of proprietary software or knowledge.

  • However, in certain categories such as data related to national security or strategic interests such as locations of government laboratories or research facilities, even if provided in anonymised form can be dangerous.

 

Way ahead

  • Though the non-personal data draft is a pioneer in identifying the power, role, and usage of anonymised data, there are certain aspects such as community non-personal data, where the draft could have been clearer.

  • Experts also believe that the final draft of the non-personal data governance framework must clearly define the roles for all participants, such as the data principal, the data custodian, and data trustees.

  • Regulation must be clear, and concise to provide certainty to its market participants, and must demarcate roles and responsibilities of participants in the regulatory framework.