Law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 12, 2017, warned companies of consequences if they release data or information about an individual with name and without his or her consent.
“Some things are completely private, should not come in public. Today, I would like to gently remind, all the companies dealing with data, that if any data of an individual is released by name you will suffer consequence unless there is specific consent of person whose data you are seeking to make public,” Prasad said while launching a nationwide hackathon.
He said the government is committed to make best use of big data in establishing rule of precision governance.
“While doing so every care would be taken to ensure that strict privacy rights of individuals are protected. However, unauthorised use of data would be dealt with iron-hand to ensure that nothing comes in the way of making data-analytics a national movement,” he said.
The government has launched open data platform in 2012 for public use. Later, it issued an open licence for people. The minister said the government has opened up many data sets for developing innovating solutions but the data has anonymity.
“Please don’t confuse. Government data is anonymous. It does have an identity. If data is anonymous. It is free from all the constraints. It should be available for innovation,” Prasad said.
He said the Supreme Court in its recent judgement has given elaborate consideration the way India is innovating, embarked on digital empowerment with financial inclusion.
The minister said that the apex court has said that right to privacy is not absolute.
“If an individual data which is private is disclosed without his consent surely consequences will follow and should follow. I want to assure that strict privacy rights of an individual must be protected. We in the government will ensure that it is protected,” Prasad said.
He said the government will be very tough in any unauthorised use of data in the interest of India’s citizen for their right of privacy but in the garb of privacy it should not be hyped that innovation, initiative, entrepreneurship development is restrained.
“We have to find middle path. On middle path, I have always said that data availability, data utility, data anonymity, data privacy — on these four principle if we proceed then surely India will emerge as a very important place as a democracy ruled by law, as a beacon for the world as to how India has set up a robust regime which set out benchmark for data utilisation maturity,” Prasad said.
Ministry of Electronics and IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said that the open data platform is a huge opportunity for the country and a brilliant foundation in place to have so much of data already being made available.
“However, there is big gap between data being available and data being utilised. I believe, there are not only gaps, but we have serious opportunities available. A lot of intellectual effort needs to go into creating that value,” Sawhney said.