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The search for an answer is on. It is like sorting out the chicken & egg story. The world has been hotting for years to find the real owner. In a world of octopus type control over data, by fence eating the crop companies and data brokers, efforts are being made the world over to wrest control. Facebook / Cambridge Analytica saga has shown how far it can go and how difficult it can be to unravel the complex nature of data.

GDPR has set the ground rules and the implementation started on the 25th May, 2018, after two years of preparatory window provided to the companies. In the meantime, Privacy becmame a fundamental right in India and a white paper was made public by a committee created for this purpose. This would be the main feed for the eventual Data Protection Act of India. Telecom service providers are an integral part of the data ecosystem. TRAI as the regulator & stakeholder has given a distinct clarity to this debate. On Monday it released its recommendations titled ‘Privacy, Security and Ownership of Data in the Telecom Sector,’ which is applicable for apps, browsers, operating systems and handset makers.

TRAI has set out to put the record straight. The entities controlling and processing user data do not have primary right over that data. Back end data boys has made the opposite as the order of the day. TRAI noted, “All entities in the digital eco-system, which control or process the data, should be restrained from using metadata to identify the invidual users.” Metadata’s misuse has been legendary.

TRAI on Monday said that the existing framework for the protection of personal data by companies / service providers was insufficient. It has recommended stricter rules for data breaches. All this was certainly not music to the Industry which has reacted with the predictable fury. TRAI’s approach is welcome and is the glimmer of hope for the Indian users.


Sanjay Sahay

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