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“No view” On Republishing Anonymisation Guidelines: MeitY in Parliament

MeitY responded to a question in Parliament by two MPs who wanted to know when it plans to republish the data anonymization guidelines

"...no view has been taken regarding republishing of the said (anonymisation) guidelines for public consultations," the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said in response to a parliamentary question on December 7, 2022. This question by Members of Parliament Doddaalahalli Kempegowda Suresh and Behanan Benny asked MeitY if it intends to republish the anonymisation guidelines. The government had put up a draft of guidelines for anonymisation of data for public consultation on September 1, 2022, which was suddenly taken down on September 6 without any explanation. Earlier, source-based reports suggested that "e-Governance Standards and Guidelines" were taken down because “they were released without adequate expert consultation” and that a new document would be released in a few days. In response to the parliamentary question, the MeitY said, they took down the guidelines "to ensure consistency with other policies under consideration and (for) reassessing their completeness." These "other policies" are not yet in place, the Ministry added. Why it matters: Safeguards for anonymised data are important as the government uses huge amounts of anonymised data for improving various services. Also, with safeguards for personal data being dealt with by the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, entities may increase their reliance on non-personal or anonymised data. Among other things, the anonymisation guidelines laid out a step-by-step process of how personal data can be de-identified to protect the identity of data principals. Without a strong set of rules, data anonymisation may continue to happen through mechanisms which do not provide adequate…

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