Looking Beyond Privacy: The Importance of Economic Rights to Our Data

Author:  Parminder Jeet Singh

The article was first published in The Wire on July 9th, 2019. The views are of the individual author

Digital data and the pervasive intelligence that it provides about people, and about artefactual and natural phenomenon, is the very basis of a digital economy. With the industrial revolution, machines soon became practically unavoidable everywhere; the same will be true of much of digital intelligence-based economic processes and systems as a digital economy takes centre stage. The efficiency dividend is just too high, and a host of entirely novel services simply too alluring for societies to resist them.

An important digital policy requirement is to enable people to retain control over their personal information. They should be able to entirely deny access to some kinds of it, and share others only with trusted parties. They should further be able to know and control any subsequent uses of their personal information, abuse of which can cause serious harm. These are the main principles underlying various personal data protection regimes like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and India’s proposed data protection law.

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