Comments on the `Report by the Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework'
25 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2021
Date Written: September 13, 2020
This paper contains our comments to the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India, on the Report by the Committee of Experts on "Non-Personal Data Governance Framework".
The Report seeks to draft policy to facilitate the development of a framework for non-personal data governance in India. To this end, the Report suggests (a) enacting a law that will enable the State to access NPD for various public purposes, (b) mandating relatively free exchanges of data in the private sector, to be supervised by a Non-personal Data Authority, (c) providing greater control over NPD to citizens, while recognising certain new concepts such as that of "community harms" that may arise from processing of NPD.
We argue that while many of the recommendations in the Report are seemingly well intentioned, they may be tough to actualise. Specifically we comment on (a) the lack of clarity of certain basic concepts and definitions, (b) the need for a more decentralised system of data governance, (c) the need to revisit extant open data frameworks, (d) the problems that may arise in the State-citizen relationship such as enhanced surveillance, (e) implementation of data localisation norms, and (f) establishment of a non-personal data authority. We suggest that the issues that arise in the context of governance of NPD require a deeper exploration of the problems, solutions and potential consequences before undertaking regulatory intervention at the scale proposed.
Keywords: non-personal data, data governance, gopalakrishna committee report
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