Daily Post 1371


The most valued asset of the digital age has gone through very reckless handling in this country so far, a very delicate handling of this fragile product and asset should have become a norm by now. The dangers of the indiscriminate handling of data was brought to the fore with exposures of Edward Snowden, towards the end of 2013, which has become the watershed moment in history of Cyber Security, data leaks, PII and the legality of it. The Epidemic Act 1897 has no data component. Every single act and more so new legislations have to be legally validated through that angle. Otherwise, in the already mired world of data, we would completely be lost. The data harvesters of every design and ilk have already perfected this art.

What the world pays for, in billions and billions of dollars, these harvesters organise for free under the non-prying of their owners, either by ignorance or sheer dereliction. Lower down the line, they might find sleeping partners in the organisation in creating technical backdoors, by ignorance or payment or both. Whatever might be the modality the damage is done. The beauty of this exercise is that in the non-formatted world of data ownership, the owner remains oblivious of it for years, when the crime keeps on happening on a persistent basis, their is no way he can feel or decipher. This ideal analogy is the real world termite which leaves you hollow unfit for even a normal functional existence.

Data is there everywhere, 98% of all data creation is in the digital mode. Varieties of undocumented and even unknown activities are getting data documented. Even the innocuous Epidemics Act of 1897 vintage, recently amended, given the danger health care professional are facing, does not have any mention of data. The data getting created is humungous and value lies in its capabilities to provide a direction to treatment, cure and research and finally victory over this pandemic. Given the financial windfalls, business and technological breakthroughs the crooks and also the genuine innovators can go to any extent. Data needs to be dealt separately in the Act, failing which it is detrimental to pro-active health management and also health intelligence.

Every single law / Act should have a data component in it, clearly mandating ownership; creation, storage and its usage, its capability to be used for Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning and AI and the process of going about it. The civil and criminal liability has to be defined and penal provisions mandated. It’s high time we make special data provisions in every Act rather than just utilising the overall umbrella of IT Act and the general law, the Indian Penal Code. These statutes have not been able to create any consciousness of data at the levels required, understanding its value; legal and illegal use and the owners continue to remain incompetent to handle it.


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