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IRCTC plans to monetise passenger data, but where are the safeguards?

Indian Railways’ IRCTC has floated a tender for a Consultant to enable the monetization of the data trove in its system: know the issues involved

Update: The IRCTC scrapped the tender to hire a consultant to monetise its digital data "in light of the non-approval of the Data Protection Bill," reported the Economic Times. Officials informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology on August 26, following its annual general meeting on the same day. Many privacy experts had voiced concerns about the tender. Earlier: What’s the news: Indian Railways’ online ticketing service Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has issued a tender looking for a Consultant to monetise the mammoth digital data in its system. It may be noted that the IRCTC has issued this tender at a time when India has no data protection law on the horizon. “IRCTC is a reservoir of huge amount of digital data which opens several opportunities for IRCTC for monetization. IRCTC wishes to leverage its data assets and market position to drive strong growth in revenues,” it said in the tender, envisaging a possible revenue of ₹ 1,000 cr. The tender calls for a consulting firm to study, analyse and review data related to public facing and vendor applications, IR websites, PSUs & other units to provide a ‘Road Map’ and ‘effective Monetization Business Strategies’ using the digital data. Why it matters: The IRCTC currently holds a monopoly in online booking of railway tickets. As such, while the department thinks of monetising data, the action also puts the data and privacy of hundreds of citizens under threat. Moreover, India does not have a data protection law…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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