The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) may reject the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade’s (DPIIT) idea to include e-commerce data in the proposed Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, the Economic Times reported. The report cited sources who said that the ministry was approached by DPIIT a week ago to consider localisation of e-commerce data produced in the country. The source reportedly said, “However, clarifications on the PDP draft are currently underway and e-commerce data pertains to community data, which will be tackled separately, later.”

According to the report, MeitY may also clarify to DPIIT that the PDP Bill will only look at privacy and security issues related to personal data, and will not focus on the data available in the public domain. However, issues related to public data will be looked at through a separate process after the government gets clarity as to what constitutes as personal and public data. DPIIT is of the view that localising e-commerce data and making it available to Indian start-ups would aid in local innovation.

MediaNama has reached out to MeitY for comment and we will update the story once we hear from them.

Data Authority will work with sectors to deal with community and anonymised data

According to MeitY, non-personal data should also have a consultation process similar to the PDP Bill and should be covered separately. A section of the ministry has argued that after the Data Authority is established under the PDP legislation, it could work with different sectors to come up with rules to deal with community and anonymised data. The questions regarding non-personal data were raised when the ministry broadened its consultation process on PDP. It sought clarifications and view from members of civil society, lawyers and institutions a few weeks earlier.

Problems in Draft E-Commerce Bill related to data protection

In May, the Finance Ministry had suggested that provisions relating to data protection be excluded from the National E-Commerce Policy on grounds that the issue is best handled by MeitY. The data protection bill, drafted by MeitY, is not restricted to e-commerce companies but applies to every industry and sector.