Ex UIDAI head Nandan Nilekani bats for data democracy

By: | Published: August 9, 2017 5:52 AM

Former UIDAI head Nandan Nilekani has called for “data democracy” in the country, helping users access all of their online information by enabling new policies, to address the challenges of data colonisation and privacy.

Ex UIDAI, Nandan NilekaniHe felt that India in three years’ time would move from a data-poor nation to a data-rich country

Former UIDAI head Nandan Nilekani has called for “data democracy” in the country, helping users access all of their online information by enabling new policies, to address the challenges of data colonisation and privacy.

Addressing the sixth C K Prahalad Memorial Lecture organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Tuesday, Nilekani said through the concept of “inverting data”, the individual user should be at the top of the pyramid with regard to all transactions leading to empowerment. Under this concept, the data generated by the individuals on the internet should also be made available to them without hurdles, thus defending privacy and enabling competition and innovation.

He felt that India in three years’ time would move from a data-poor nation to a data-rich country and this would have strategic implications. “This (data explosion) is not a technology issue but a policy one,” he said.

According to Nilekani, the government should unlock public data so that individuals would have access to their personal data with adequate safeguards. Along with this, the regulators of various sectors should also address the issue of providing users access to various forms of data. He felt data protection is paramount to address the issue of privacy and this could be done only through enabling policies.

He also gave examples of companies such as Apple, Amazon and Google which have a reservoir of data and with use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are able to build new businesses much faster than others. This could threaten incumbents and make it difficult for other players to enter into a new segment due to lack of data.

Nilekani cited the example of Netflix, a company which until fours years ago was in the business of distributing content from others.

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