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Home / Business News / Panel pitches regulating how tech firms use data

Panel pitches regulating how tech firms use data

A proposed non-personal data authority may oversee how information is shared while ensuring privacy protection

business Updated: Jul 13, 2020 23:12 IST
Shreya Nandi and Nandita Mathur
Shreya Nandi and Nandita Mathur
Mint, New Delhi
A panel headed by former Infosys vice chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan has pitched for the new regulator.
A panel headed by former Infosys vice chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan has pitched for the new regulator. (Mint Photo )

A government-appointed panel, headed by former Infosys Ltd vice chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan, has called for a new law to regulate the sharing, commercial use and privacy of non-personal information.

The nine-member panel suggested appointing a regulator to oversee how such data is shared for sovereign, welfare, regulatory and competition uses, with a mandate to ensure that individual privacy is protected and the legitimacy of a request to seek data is strictly evaluated.

The committee has sought feedback from interested parties by August 13.

“The non-personal data authority should be tasked with enabling legitimate sharing requests and requirements, and with regulating and supervising corresponding data sharing arrangements involving data businesses, data trustees and data trusts,” the draft report of the panel said.

Recognising the need to use data to provide a level-playing field for new companies, the panel said that global tech giants such as Google, Uber and Amazon, collect user data and mine content to make better decisions, giving them an advantage.

“A combination of a first-mover advantage for these large data-driven platforms and businesses, with the sizable network effect and enormous data that they have collected over the years, has left many new entrants and start-ups being squeezed and faced with significant entry barriers, the draft report said. “This may be the right time to set out rules to regulate the data ecosystem (which includes data collection, analysis, sharing, distribution of gains, destruction etc.) to provide certainty for existing businesses and provide incentives for new business creation, as well as to release enormous untapped social and public value from data.”

Prasanto K Roy, a policy expert, said that while competitive barriers need to be removed to spur innovation, a sweeping law that forces companies to share data could hurt more companies than just the internet giants.

“It would hurt new startups seeking funding, because investors would hesitate to invest in building up customer data as it may have to be shared with competitors,” Roy said.

Non-personal data is information that cannot identify a person and can be details such as weather conditions, data from sensors and public infrastructure.

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