Trai floats consultation paper on data privacy, ownership

By: | Published: August 10, 2017 6:44 AM

With concerns being raised over sharing of data by technology and mobile companies with third party application developers without taking consent from the user, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday floated a consultation paper on privacy, security and ownership of data in the telecom sector.

trai, trai news, trai latest news, trai regulator, telecom regulatorThrough this consultation, the regulator aims to identify key issues related to data protection in relation to the delivery of digital service. (Reuters)

With concerns being raised over sharing of data by technology and mobile companies with third party application developers without taking consent from the user, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday floated a consultation paper on privacy, security and ownership of data in the telecom sector.

Releasing the consultation paper, the sector regulator said that focus is on “informational privacy, which forms a subset of the broader concept of privacy that encompasses many other philosophical, psychological, sociological, economic and political perspectives. In the context of data protection, it is also important to establish the ownership of the data”.

Through this consultation, the regulator aims to identify key issues related to data protection in relation to the delivery of digital services, which includes provision of telecom and Internet services by telecom and Internet service providers as well as other devices, networks and applications that connect with users through services offered by TSPs/ISPs and collect and control a user’s data.

Trai said the rationale for government’s intervention is on account of three key reasons. First, there is an under-estimation by consumers about the value of their personal data and ignorance about the scale and use of the data being collected. The ability of data collectors to unilaterally change their privacy policies also contributes to this asymmetry.

“Second, is the problem of bounded rationality, which often leads consumers to underestimate the long term consequences of their actions while consenting to share their personal information in the course of availing specific products or services. Third is the problem of a data monopoly. Since the service providers, through the provision of service generate and hold the data, it gives them an advantage, which they can use to get into adjacencies (and thus extending their monopoly). This results in harm to the market,” it added.

On the objective behind floating the consultation paper, Trai chairman RS Sharma told FE, “We need to decide who is the owner of the data. Also, can the custodian of this data stop the owner from sharing his or her data with others? The main point which we want to discuss is the ownership of data and who has the final right on a user’s data.”

The exercise by the regulator comes after the government last month told the Supreme Court that user data is “integral” to the right of life and personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution and it would soon come out with regulations to protect user data.

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