In this blog post, we present our comments to the Report by the Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework, December 2020 (the Framework) in response to the call for comments from all stakeholders by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India. Our response is accessible here.
This response continues our engagement with the public consultation process with the Framework. Our analyses suggest that the Framework is built with a disproportionate emphasis on the economic value to be realised by the sharing of Non-personal Data (NPD), and a narrow appreciation of the social and welfare-based merits and demerits of sharing privately held NPD. This emphasis on narrowly defined economic benefits risks creating an ecosystem that is not able to fully tap into the social benefits of sharing NPD, and has weak safeguards for consumer protection.
Our response is organised into three sections:
Analysis of the goals of the Framework. We find that therationale for some of the goals set out in the Framework is unclear, and the goals do not take into consideration the complete economic and social merits and demerits of sharing privately held NPD. We go on to offer some recommendations for creating more inclusive and ethical overarching principles for the sharing of data.
Analysis of the design of the proposed entities.Our analysis suggests that theinstitutional design of the entities proposed in the Framework are weak, and riddled with several and severe misalignment of interests that can weaken the proposed community rights and the desired economic benefits. We discuss these deficiencies, and also offer recommendations for strengthening the institutional design of these entities.
Gaps in consumer protection in the Framework.Our analysis suggests that the chief tools proposed in the Framework to ensure the protection of consumers/communities are not robust, and do not offer adequate protection.We go on to highlight these gaps and also offer recommendations to address them.
We are concerned that, contrary to its objectives, the Framework would be unable to create benefits and ensure the safety of communities and may be inadequate to democratise the rights over NPD.