The government has approved a Bulk Data Sharing policy through which automobile researchers and organisations can buy vehicle registration data, in order to benefit the “transport and automobile industry”. Starting next fiscal, eligible bodies will be able to purchase the data for Rs 3 crore while ensuring strict security steps to prevent theft or transfer, according to the policy approved by the government. The policy further warns that violation of data will result in action under the IT Act and other applicable laws besides debarring the agency from access to this data for a period of three years.
As per the 'Bulk Data Sharing Policy & Procedure' issued earlier this month, sharing of vehicle registration data in a "controlled manner, can support the transport and automobile industry". "The sharing of data will also help in service improvements and wider benefits to citizens & Government," the policy stated.
"There have been continuous advances in technology and the range of purposes for which individuals and organizations want access to the DL&RC data. There has been a growing demand to share the data for wider benefits."
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways collects and holds data as part of the issuance of Vehicle Registration Certificates (RC) and Driver Licence (DL). The ministry currently shares complete data with specified agencies such as enforcement agencies.
The data is also shared with automobile industries, banks, finance companies etc at specified rates for each data set. Earlier this month, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry have also announced going paperless and said driving licences and vehicle registration certificates will now be issued as plastic cards in a standard format across the country.
In the bulk data sharing policy the government has said that "Capture of old data on RC&DL (registration certificate & driving license) before the implementation of SARATHI and VAHAN has still not taken place. The possibility of a number of Vehicles having been transferred from one person to another or one location to another and the Driving License holders having relocated themselves without updating the database cannot be ruled out."
The policy makes it clear that under the circumstance, the Ministry is not in a position to ensure the sanctity of the data, which would be made available on "as-is-where-is" basis.
The policy said that free access to the vehicle's basic data available to all the registered users through mParivahan App or through the web portal of the Ministry shall be restricted to the basic details regarding statutory compliances and the owner's name.
On the eligibility for accessing Bulk Data, it said such organizations requesting for data should be registered in India with at least 50 per cent ownership by an Indian resident or an Indian company.
For data safety, it said "Monitor, control and block any sensitive data being transferred from the data processing organization network. This includes e-mails, files, browser any application etc. This is to be achieved through content & context-aware protection."
Besides, it stipulated "Cross-Platform security" for ensuring that sensitive data is not residing in desktops running over Windows, Linux or Mac OS.
It said all sensitive data should be in an encrypted format while stored in the disk and only to be decrypted while accessed through proper mechanism. About the cost, the policy said the organisations can purchase the data for one calendar year at any time. The government made it clear that the data in bulk will be released in the encrypted format.