The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday made its stand clear around the debate over 'user data privacy', saying no one besides consumers can be the real owners of data and that the companies holding information about them are nothing but its "custodians". Saying the present norms around the user data privacy in India are not enough, the telecom regulator stressed that consumers should be given the choice to safeguard their privacy.
TRAI has recommended a series of measures on 'privacy, security, and ownership of data in telecom networks'. It said consumers have the primary right over their data. "The right to choice, notice, consent, data portability, and right to be forgotten should be conferred upon the telecommunication consumers," TRAI recommended to the Department of Telecom.
The telecom regular made it clear that telecom companies need to make their 'consent mechanism' more transparent to ensure the consumers of digital services can take decisions based on sufficient choices put forth.
TRAI has suggested that all digital entities, including telecom operators, should clearly disclose information about the privacy breaches on their websites along with the actions taken for mitigation, and preventing such breaches in the future.
The recommendations from TRAI come at a time when there are rising concerns about privacy and safety of user data, especially through mobile apps and social media platforms.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee, headed by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, in January had also said the government should come out with a legislation on data privacy at the earliest.
According to a survey conducted by a global consulting firm EY, over 70 per cent of Indian respondents see data protection and data privacy compliance as increasing areas of concern while 46 per cent are worried about cyber breach and insider threats. With India on the cusp of a complete digital transformation, it becomes important for data service providers operating in India to be transparent in their policies.
The TRAI also said that the government should put in place a mechanism for redressal of telecommunication consumers' grievances relating to data ownership, protection, and privacy.
With agency inputs