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Govt sold vehicular data to private firm years before formulating data sharing policy: Report

We missed this earlier: In a September 2014 deal, the Indian government sold a copy of the country's entire vehicle registration database to a private Indian company. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) database sold, in objection of government officials around pricing, to Fast Lane Automotive Pvt. Ltd. These revelations were reported by The Reporters' Collective on the basis of RTIs filed by the Srinivas Kodali and Sreegireesh Jalihal. The deal was signed five years before MoRTH announced the official Bulk Data Sharing Policy of 2019 that opened up bulk data purchase to all buyers. This policy was scrapped in 2020 over privacy concerns, but Fast Lane continues to have to the data. In 2014, the Ministry proposed to share the Vahaan and Sarathi databases, which contain vehicle registration data and driving license data, to buyers at a price of Rs 1 crore a year. The deal was based on a proposal from Fast Lane and did not involve a tender or bidding process. The same year, MoRTH requested the Ministry of Law & Justice to approve a tripartite agreement between the ministry, FLA, and National Informatics Centre. MoRTH appears to have sidelined the NIC, after growing impatient with delays in NIC's approval coming through. Months after the contract was signed, the NIC had raised security and privacy concerns over the issues with sharing bulk data to private players. FLA continues to have access to the data under the rescinded contract with the government. In a 2016 note…

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