Has India's Privacy Bill Considered the Dangers of Unrestricted Processing of 'Anonymised' Data?

Author: Anushka Mittal

This article was first published in The Wire on January 14, 2020. The views are of the individual author. 

Anonymisation of data is neither a corollary of privacy protection nor is it an oxymoron to the idea of privacy. Instead, it is more likely a gateway to a possible privacy breach which has not been addressed in the government’s Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 . 

The Bill which is heralded as a much-needed safeguard to rein in the digital Wild West is an embodiment of the constitutional spirit of privacy, evoked by the Puttaswamy-I case. It seeks to protect the personal data of individuals collected by companies and the state by laying down a comprehensive framework for processing such data. Accordingly, it also outlines what forms of data processing are exempt from this framework. 

One such exemption is the processing of anonymised data. The Bill excludes the coverage of anonymised data, except under Section 91 which covers the use of anonymised and non-personal data by the central government for targeted delivery of services and formulation of evidence-based policies. 


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