Data Security | ‘Your privacy is gone, period’

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2019

The debate over data security and privacy has continued unabated even a year after Justice Srikrishna Committee’s report on draft regulations

NEW DELHI – In a closed door meeting with global CEOs during his recent US visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government will balance data security and privacy, according to a report by The Times of India.

This comes amid concerns — primarily raised by firms such as IBM and Facebook — over the data localisation clause in the draft Data Privacy and Protection Bill. For these players, India is a large and a focus market given its 1.3 billion population and amount of data that these enterprises process of Indian nationals. At 270 million, India accounts for the largest user base from any country for Facebook, followed by US’s 190 million.

The debate has continued unabated even a year after Justice BN Srikrishna Committee’s report on draft privacy regulations.

The concern here, Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, Infosys, pointed out is not about if your privacy is being violated or not. “Privacy is gone. Period,” Gopalakrishnan told Moneycontrol, at the sidelines of an event in Bengaluru recently. He was recently appointed by the Centre to head a committee to study non-personal data and help government form regulatory framework around it.

Gopalakrishnan said: “You are being monitored whether you like it or not. Whether your details are linked to Aadhaar or not.”

According to him, the need of the hour is not about whether your privacy is guaranteed. It is more about if it is used by companies unfairly. “What we need is regulation to ensure that privacy is not exploited,” he added.

It is difficult to deny that privacy is just a myth. If anything, we are living in denial that we are not being monitored and our data can be safe if we want it to be.

Privacy is nothing but a bubble we are living in. During a recent debate about privacy, a startup founder pointed out that we have already given out all possible data and whatever we have not given is not worth anything.

“Your shopping history, email conversations and browser history is out there for people to monitor. If you think about it, there is no privacy. Not at all,” the founder added.

Recounting an incident, the founder said: “I was talking to a friend about taking a flight to Jodhpur from New Delhi sometime next week and my browser was open. When I search for flight options now, the first option it shows is the flight from New Delhi to Jodhpur.”

Coincidence? Not really. Case in point are instances of Amazon Alexa allegedly listening in on conversations, according to recent reports.

As technology becomes more advanced, it is intelligent enough to capture data is the best possible way. The fact that a browser might be listening in on conversations is closer to the truth that we want to believe. “There is no escape. You leave your digital footprint wherever you go and it is not something you can escape from,” said another media personnel.

Right now, there is nothing that is stopping companies from using our information and monetizing it. That is where we need to draw a line.

That is why Gopalakrishnan points out that, “Right to privacy is about the right to proper safeguards. There should be a mechanism and that is what is now required. We should ensure that this (misuse) does not happen.”

At the end of the day, “Who would you trust, a private company or the government, which you elected?” he asked.


Courtesy/Source: Moneycentral (Autour: Swathi Moorthy)

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