The Indian government is planning to gain unrestricted access to non-personal data of people in India, according to a report by Tech2. Non-personal data is anonymized data which can’t be traced back to identify a person. For example, weather sensors without a specific location or e-Commerce data without personal identification.
This comes on the heel of the data privacy bill, which is listed to be tabled in the winter session of parliament. Apart from access to non-personal data, the bill will also tackle topics such as intermittent liability of social media platforms, and data localization and storage issues.
A government source told the publication that authorities should be able to regulate how, when, and where non-personal data is being used:
The thought process of the government is that it should have access to all non-personal, aggregate and anonymized data at all times and on-demand. The data doesn’t necessarily need to be stored with the government but it should be able to regulate how, when and where the data is being used.
The move is also influenced by an upcoming report on non-personal data handling by a committee headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
Europe’s data regulation law, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), allows the free flow of non-personal data and makes it available for authorities for regulation.
If the plan goes through, companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Walmart-owned Flipkart will need need to submit non-personal data to the government that can be crucial to their businesses. On the other hand, commonly available data can be a boon for small startups and businesses. A lot of eyes will be keenly watching what the Indian government will do next.