A study conducted by Economic Survey has revealed how sale of data can be used to generate revenue. It was revealed by Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways that the Government is selling vehicle registration and driving license date of Indians along with data on insurance and tax paid and has been earning revenue from it.
The sale of this data has earned the Government around Rs.65 crores with 87 companies having already purchased it. Apart from this information, the Government has also linked Vahan and Sarathi with stolen vehicle data from National Crime Records Bureau. A Centralized National Registry has been maintained through National Informatics Center.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways safeguards the privacy concerns and any other constraints that could come up in case of sale of vehicle registration and driving license data. The revenue earned was from sale of data of 25 crore vehicle registration records and 15 crore driving license records which were sold to 119 organizations consisting of 32 Government and 87 Private entities.
Now while the Government may have gone ahead with this selling of private data, it does pose a question of whether they are authorized to do so or not. It does also pose the question of privacy. Who owns this data? Is it the private individual or the Government? Is the consent of the private individual required or not?
Though the prime focus is on delivering simpler, better and safer service to citizens and sharing of data would benefit the country’s economy to a great extent it also shows that this data is shared with the entire auto industry, banks, financial companies, etc, and this in turn could harm the privacy of individuals.
This private data is accessible following the creation of “Bulk Data Sharing Policy and Procedure” by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. While this amount is fixed at Rs. 3 crores for FY 2019-20 for organizations, the data is offered to educational institutions at Rs.5 lakhs and can be used exclusively for research and internal purposes.
In India, to date, this private data was scrapped in an unauthorized way due to unsecure websites and servers used by private entities but this way the data is being sold by the Government to earn revenue. This is even as there is no data protection law despite the Supreme Court had earlier declared privacy as a Fundamental Right under Article 21.