Government may wait for panel report before taking Data Bill to Parliament : 22-10-2019

The government may wait for the committee on non-personal data to submit its report before placing the draft Personal Data Protection Bill before Parliament, people familiar with the development told ET.

The government formed a panel led by InfosysNSE -14.34 % cofounder S (Kris) Gopalakrishnan in September to recommend how non-personal data should be governed.

Non-personal data pertains to community data, anonymised data, and ecommerce data held by companies such as Uber, Google and Amazon.

“Before the Personal Data Protection Bill is taken to the Cabinet, the government wants some understanding of how non-personal data should be treated, for which the committee’s recommendations are required,” an official who did not want to be identified, said.

Even though non-personal data may be kept outside the purview of the Personal Data Protection Bill, clarity is required on several instances of overlap between personal and non-personal data, the official said.

“The government wants to be fully prepared for any tough questions or debate on issues regarding nonpersonal data in Parliament during discussions on the Personal Data Protection Bill,” the person added.

The committee on non-personal data has met thrice already. While the first meeting took place in Bengaluru, the other two meetings were in New Delhi, with the latest held last week.

“We will try and see how soon we can submit the report to the government and then the government will take a call on it… We will give our recommendations, it is then left to the government to decide what needs to be done,” committee chairman Gopalakrishnan told ET.


He, however, declined to provide specifics of the discussions or set a deadline to submit the panel’s recommendations.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union minister for electronics, IT and communications, recently told ET that the Bill would soon be taken to Cabinet for approval and placed before Parliament.

The winter session of Parliament is expected to start from the third week of November.

In September, the ministry of electronics and IT set up the committee “to study various “to study various issues relating to non-personal data and to make specific suggestions for consideration of the central government on regulation of non-personal data.”

The seven-member committee includes Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh; National Informatics Centre director-general Neeta Verma; Avanti Finance chief technology officer Lalitesh Katragadda; Ponnurangam Kumaraguru of IIIT Hyderabad; Parminder Jeet Singh, the executive director of non-profit organisation IT for Change; MeitY joint secretary Gopalakrishnan S, and an additional secretary or joint secretary from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

Privately-collected digital data could be a necessary requirement for policy making, governance and public service delivery in many areas, the memorandum notifying the committee’s constitution had said.

Another person aware of the discussions on the committee said that wide-ranging discussions have happened on the subject so far.

“Non-personal data deals with data which has been anonymised, but even this kind of data can be deanonymised to a great extent by adding personal attributes, therefore these issues have to be considered very carefully,” the person said asking not be identified.

Source : Financial Express

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