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TRAI Seeks Public view on Ownership and Security of Personal Data

AI has floated a consultation paper on developing a framework that can give people more control over their personal data and prevent chances of misuse.

“It is important to have a clear policy related to data ownership, data protection, privacy, and security in the telecom space,” TRAI Chairman R S Sharma told PTI.

Despite having provisions for data protection and privacy under the IT Act, India still doesn’t have comprehensive privacy and data protection law. The consultation paper says devices used by individuals can collect large volumes of data about the user’s behaviour. “Incidents have come to light where device manufacturers have distributed pre-installed software that allowed them to monitor the location, call and messaging activities of the device owners,” the paper says.

The observation comes in light of ongoing tussle with Apple that is reportedly not allowing convergence of the TRAI’s Do-Not-Disturb app on its iOS platform. The regulator’s app allows users to flag pesky calls and unsolicited messages directly to the regulator as it pulls out such details from messages and call logs.

According to the telecom regulator, many mobile applications seek access to subscriber data like call records, access to microphone, pictures, SMS and the like which may not be required for providing the service desired by the user. “The one-sided nature of these arrangements with an uneven bargaining power between the provider and the user implies that the user often does not have an effective choice in the matter — the app may not be available for use without authorising those permissions,” the consultation paper states.

So, TRAI has sought public views on data protection in relation to the delivery of digital services as it looks to define personal data, who should be its owner, responsibilities of entities storing or controlling data of subscribers for delivering services among various other aspects to give users more control over their digital data.

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