Data Gains: The draft non-personal data Bill will allow a formal data market to come up

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Published: July 14, 2020 5:40 AM

Although specific provisions like state forcing companies to give up certain kind of data based on committee’s decision and discretion are too open-ended, the Bill makes India one of the few economies to consider allowing data sale.

The Bill details what kind of data can be sold and in what format.The Bill details what kind of data can be sold and in what format. (Representative image)

Although companies purchase data in India for deciphering consumer trends or behaviour, there is no formal market for selling data. That is what the draft Bill on non-personal data, among other goals, seeks to achieve—a formal data market in India. The Bill proposes the setting up of a non-personal data authority, and distinguishes between public non-personal data, community non-personal data, and private non-personal data. The draft Bill also details security features that companies will have to adopt so that data cannot be de-anonymised. More important, it outlines the regulatory framework for the sale of data by companies. The Bill details what kind of data can be sold and in what format. Although specific provisions like state forcing companies to give up certain kind of data based on committee’s decision and discretion are too open-ended, the Bill makes India one of the few economies to consider allowing data sale.

Moreover, it means India will be able to leverage the power of data to expand its social outreach programmes. For instance, smart cities can use data from Google Mobility trends to assess the traffic situation. It will allow start-ups to build upon data ecosystems and the government to connect with citizens. Once there is a formal data market, and Facebook and Google start selling data on it, people may start demanding payment for their data. The draft Bill makes it mandatory for companies to ask for user consent. But, this also means that companies will be able to price their services better.

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