Comments & OpinionsData Protection & Privacy

Non-Personal Data only needs ‘light-touch’ regulations: MP Amar Patnaik

Member of Parliament and the Member of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB), Amar Patnaik has said that non-personal data (NPD) should be governed only through light-touch regulations and that too after the development of the market.

Mr. Patnaik made the remarks while launching the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)- EY Report on Impact Assessment of NPD Government, ET reported.

What is non-personal data?

Non-personal data is the kind of information that cannot aid the identification of any natural person. It includes anonymized and aggregated data. [Read More]

Businesses use this kind of data to improve their services. They can help to study a class of people with similar thoughts or preferences. Such an analysis helps them base their decisions on their learning from the data. It also helps the businesses to respond to area-wise demand. It can also tell a lot about what a business’s focused audience or customers expect from that business. E.g. General shopping patterns, customer demographics [age, gender, and location], Onsite traffic metrics.

Also Read: Use of Non-Personal Data

Last year, the Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework submitted a report to the Ministry of Information Technology and Electronics. Earlier this month, a government-constituted panel headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan submitted draft legislation for NPD regulation.

Regulation without a market won’t serve the purpose

Mr. Patnaik said that if there is “misuse of non-personal data to create distrust in society, create disharmony in society”, then regulation will be required. However, if India does not develop the market and implements stringent regulations, then it will not be serving the purpose. Therefore, the government should promote the market and then implement soft-touch recommendations.

He added that PDPB and NPD are not comparable since the latter lacks the element of privacy. However, he also said that a watertight distinction is not possible between them. He said:

“I have been actually mentioned several times in the joint parliamentary committee is that it is very difficult to completely keep them separate, because at some stage technology will be able to catch up to reidentify the data, and the fact that there are mixed data sets.”

Last week, it was reported that the JPC feels that the PDPB does not give enough clarity on the types of data that would be outside the ambit of the PDPB. It recommended that the govt. should keep non-personal data outside PDPB’s purview.

It was earlier reported that the new PDPB Chairman PP Chaudary was suggesting broadening the scope of the PDPB to include both personal and non-personal data.

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Rohit Ranjan Praveer

Rohit is a practicing advocate at Delhi. Beginning as a tech enthusiast, Rohit always had a keen interest in computer forensics and information security. Building upon these fundamentals, he has undertaken extensive research on various techno-legal topics and continues his pursuit pass on valuable information to the masses, with a zeal to build something that outlasts him.​

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