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Economic Survey 2018-19 suggests breaking silos between databases and selling citizens’ data to analytics agencies

The government can sell 'select' citizens' data to private companies and data analytics firms for "commercial use" and "generating insights" for "profits". It also pointed out that "in thinking about data as a public good, care must also be taken to not impose the elite’s preference of privacy on the poor, who care for a better quality of living the most" according to the Economic Survey 2018-19, which was tabled in Parliament on Thursday. The survey, which has an entire section on data, titled "Data of the people, by the people, for the people" , pitches for creating a Central Welfare Database of citizens — by merging different databases maintained by separate Ministries and departments. Here's what the document said about selling citizens' data to private companies. “The private sector may be granted access to select databases for commercial use. Consistent with the notion of data as a public good, there is no reason to preclude commercial use of this data for profit. Undoubtedly, the data revolution envisioned here is going to cost funds. Although the social benefits would far exceed the cost to the government, at least a part of the generated data should be monetised to ease the pressure on government finances. Given that the private sector has the potential to reap massive dividends from this data, it is only fair to charge them for its use” Data could also be sold to data analytics firms: “Datasets may be sold to analytics agencies that process the data, generate insights, and…

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