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#NAMA: Why does the Indian government want to regulate non-personal data?

When it comes to data, the primary aim of the government is to earn money, and “the only way they can earn is when they actually sell personal data in a non-personal way”, said a speaker at MediaNama's roundtable discussion on non-personal data. Speculating about the intentions of the committee of experts that is working on non-personal data, especially Avanti Finance CTO Lalitesh Katragadda, a speaker said that the committee wants to “ring fence the Indian data economy so that data that is useful for India’s national development can be used by Indians”. They likened it to rise of similar debates in other parts of the world including Germany (“data sovereignty” and “community data”) and France. Another participant highlighted the few stated objectives of government when it comes to data governance: economic growth, its governance, and privacy protection. (Note: The discussion was held under the Chatham House Rule; quotes have not been attributed to specific people. Quotes are not verbatim and have been edited for clarity and to preserve anonymity. Also note that this discussion took place before the PDP Bill, 2019, was made public.) Why does the government want control over non-personal data? Some private data is valuable to community: Globally, there is now an understanding that some companies dominate the global data market. From that, a speaker highlighted, has emerged an idea that “some of this data is valuable to the community”. While how this community data is defined remains up for debate, “some data that private companies…

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