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Omidyar Network India, Monitor Deloitte launch report on Indian data privacy landscape

The industry-first report highlights 10 key findings about data privacy and protection in India

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MUMBAI: Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focused on social impact, today launched a new report titled “Unlocking the potential of India’s Data Economy: Practices, Privacy and Governance”, in partnership with Monitor Deloitte. The first of its kind study analyses data practices and governance by private enterprises that are shaping India’s data revolution.

The report also has key recommendations for entrepreneurs, investors and regulators to turn data privacy into a core business and regulatory issue.

“As tech-led investors focused on impact, we believe that technology can drive massive impact in ways that were not possible earlier and have invested in a unique portfolio of enterprises that accelerate the digital journey of India’s “Next Half Billion” to access aspirational services. Equally we now focus on “responsible tech”, recognising the increased vulnerability of individuals and society to harms. This is why we support research and other entrepreneurial efforts to help inform policies, practices and behaviours by policymakers, businesses and users in good data practices, especially in privacy,” said Omidyar Network India MD Roopa Kudva.

The findings of this report encourage entrepreneurs, investors and regulators to take responsible measures that can lead India towards an ideal future of data privacy:

·         India is witnessing a personal data revolution: High growth in personal data collection is projected to continue, driven by strong consumer, enterprise and government initiatives.

·         Personal data is adding value, but also new risks: Loss of privacy, financial losses, discrimination while unethical use can negatively impact enterprises and investors.

·         Personal data proliferation means that behavioural data is used to create detailed personal profiles: Many may find this unsettling.

·         Lack of a strong framework in handling data: Private enterprises collect large volumes of data, largely unknown to the consumer as well as share the data with third parties

·         Data governance regulations and practices not lagging behind data evolution of big data and business models: Pace of development a framework  to ethically collect and process slower than progress of Big Data and AI

·         India is at a nascent stage of evolution on privacy issues: As Indian consumers do not yet fully recognize the need for privacy, and the Personal Data Protection bill is awaited, enterprises primarily adopt a “tick the box” compliance lens to data privacy and protection.

·         Foundational principles for an ideal future on privacy: Personal ownership of data, fair value in exchange for use of personal data, informed consent, accountability and transparency

·         Responsible approaches to big data can lead to innovation driven profitability and growth: The issue need not be one of a tug-of-war between business opportunity and social acceptability. Looking at ethical and societal aspects of data collection and usage can lead to sustainable success in the marketplace

·         Collective action towards data privacy and protection: All four stakeholders – enterprises, investors, regulators and civil society -- must collectively join hands and work towards pursuing data privacy and protection

·         The roadmap for data privacy in India will evolve:  From “privacy as compliance”, businesses will focus on privacy to build trust with their customers; eventually new business models will emerge to help individuals assume greater control of their data and narratives.

 ‘’We recognise that tech is not a silver bullet - the role of non-tech solutions and government, civil society and media in driving social change is vital, and we seek to actively engage and collaborate with them by the way of this report. As next steps, we’ll be working with our own portfolio to develop a deeper understanding and practical implications of these findings and recommendations,” adds Kudva.

The report also has recommended action plans for private enterprises, investors and regulators which will be released as handbooks later this month.

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