Data privacy should not be at cost of innovation: Ravi Shankar Prasad

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New Delhi | Updated: November 04, 2018 1:03 AM

Speaking at a CII conference on financial inclusion on Saturday, Prasad said even the Supreme Court, in its order on data privacy, has stated that privacy should not kill innovation.

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Prasad said the government is committed to foster inclusion with digitisation as a medium

At a time when the government is in the process of framing a comprehensive law on data protection, information technology and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said while data privacy is a must, it should not be at the cost of innovation.

Speaking at a CII conference on financial inclusion on Saturday, Prasad said even the Supreme Court, in its order on data privacy, has stated that privacy should not kill innovation. “The stakeholder is the trustee of data on behalf of the owner of data. And every Indian must own data. However, there should be a healthy balance between openness, availability, utilisation and privacy of data,” he said.

The government is currently in the process of holding inter-ministerial discussions on the recommendations of Justice BN Srikrishna committee on data privacy and protection, which will lead to formulation of a comprehensive law on the subject. Also, the RBI order that all payments related data should be stored within the country from October 15 has come into force. While domestic payment firms store data in the country, international firms don’t. But now they are in the process of doing so.

On its part, the Srikrishna panel, in its recommendations, has struck a middle path and not recommended a blanket local data storage within the country. It has identified circumstances under which data has to be compulsorily stored in the country and cases where it can be stored with mirroring provisions. It has stated that critical data will have to be stored in the country.

Speaking on Aadhaar, Prasad said data cannot be breached as it is stored in a safe, encrypted manner. “Biometric data on Aadhaar is kept in safe and secure conditions in an encrypted form, and so strong that even for a billionth of a second it cannot be breached… Aadhaar data is kept in secure conditions duly backed by a Parliamentary law, so strong that if anyone tries to disclose the biometric details, he can be prosecuted and it can only happen in the case of compelling national security, that too after the affirmation of a committee headed by the Cabinet secretary,” he said.

On financial inclusion, he said that the government has created an ecosystem and an enabling environment by relaxing laws, easing procedures and removing barriers to foster growth which in turn would facilitate financial inclusion and social empowerment.

“The government is committed to foster inclusion through digitisation as a medium. Instruments such as mudra, Jhan Dhan, JAM trinity and Aadhaar have been transformational in paving the way for financial inclusion. Around 55% of banks accounts worldwide have been opened in India through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana,” Prasad said.

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