Trai Chairman RS Sharma on Wednesday said that the telecom regulator was committed to data protection and was in favor of defining the responsibility of various stakeholders in the value chain to ensure that customers' data is safeguarded. He was speaking at 'i-Bharat 2017' organized by FICCI in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and IT.
Trai Chairman said that information privacy, security and data ownership, needed to be defined. He added that after seeking views and conducting open houses with industry and relevant stakeholders, Trai would finalize any policy. He further said that several consultation papers were out in the public domain for recommendations and suggestions. Trai is expected to send its recommendations on guidelines for data privacy sent to the Justice Srikrishna Committee.
Speaking on the monopoly over data, Sharma said: "Currently, there is a huge amount of monopoly and that monopoly is becoming bigger and bigger. We are saying you can use my data because we are using your application, but give us too so that we can use it for other purposes too. This should be finalised by December-January."
Speaking on net neutrality, Sharma said that net neutrality calls for access to internet content without any discrimination in data speed and cost and Trai will come out with its views on net neutrality very soon. He added that digital consent and blockchain were emerging trends and suggested that there should be a provision for data portability as well.
This is not the first time when the issue customers' data protection has been raised. Earlier in August, former Aadhaar Chiarman Nandan Nilekani urged the government to come up with a framework to protect the data of individuals using technology. According to a report in the Business Standard, Nilekani said: "Time is running out and India needs to take a strategic view on data colonisation, privacy and data dominance and how data is used for public good. It is a policy issue and not a technology issue that needs to be addressed soon." He also said the Aadhaar system has not been breached yet but in future data security was going to be a big concern for the government.
Recently, the telecom regulator had accused Apple of engaging in data colonisation in India and being anti-consumer by not allowing customers to pass on details about pesky calls and unwanted messages to authorities as well as their mobile operators. Trai chief Sharma had slammed the iPhone maker for this and said: "While Google's Android supports our Do-Not-Disturb (DND) app, Apple has just been discussing, discussing, and discussing. They have not done anything." Speaking on this particular case, Nilekani said: "Currently, there is nothing that a user knows regarding what is happening to their data and this information needs to be given back to people."