Non-personal data

A government committee headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has suggested that non-personal data generated in the country be allowed to be harnessed by various domestic companies and entities.

Non-personal data

In its most basic form, non-personal data is any set of data which does not contain personally identifiable information. This in essence means that no individual or living person can be identified by looking at such data.

For example, while order details collected by a food delivery service will have the name, age, gender, and other contact information of an individual, it will become non-personal data if the identifiers such as name and contact information are taken out.

Data Classification: 

  • The government committee, which submitted its report has classified non-personal data into three main categories, namely public non-personal data, community non-personal data and private non-personal data.
  • Depending on the source of the data and whether it is anonymised in a way that no individual can be re-identified from the data set, the three categories have been divided.

What are public, community, and private non-personal data sets?

  • All the data collected by government and its agencies such as census, data collected by municipal corporations on the total tax receipts in a particular period or any information collected during execution of all publicly funded works has been kept under the umbrella of public non-personal data.
  • Any data identifiers about a set of people who have either the same geographic location, religion, job, or other common social interests will form the community non-personal data. For example, the metadata collected by ride-hailing apps, telecom companies, electricity distribution companies among others have been put under the community non-personal data category by the committee.
  • Private non-personal data can be defined as those which are produced by individuals which can be derived from application of proprietary software or knowledge.

Q) There is a need for a formidable data protection framework which does not exhibit ad-hocism in actions taken by the government.

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