Members of the Jana Sena Party (JSP) of Andhra Pradesh have launched a campaign #MyDataMyPrivacy on Twitter after the party Chief Pawan Kalyan criticised the state government for collecting large amounts of citizen data through volunteers for ‘real-time governance’. Pawan Kalyan’s remarks in the past weeks have shed light on Andhra Pradesh’s volunteer-based system of governance, wherein door-to-door collection of data in the past decade has raised data privacy concerns among the state residents. Speaking at a public rally on July 9, Kalyan launched a scathing attack on the data collection practices employed by the state government alleging that the volunteers were surveilling women, and the data was used to aid human trafficking in the state. While the State Women’s Commission issued a notice to the actor-politician, his allegations did trigger a debate about the risks to citizen’s personal data collected by local volunteers across the state. What is the village volunteer system in Andhra Pradesh? Andhra Pradesh is one of the earliest states to have developed a system for creating a 360-degree record of every citizen through the State’s e-Pragati project which is designed to provide real-time digital governance solutions. Started in 2014 during the Telugu Desam Party government, the ‘village volunteer’ system was continued by the current YSR Congress Party. According to a report by The Quint, there are about 2.5 lakh local volunteers, equipped with biometric devices and smartphones, who are responsible for carrying out Aadhaar-based eKYC of residents for providing welfare services to the households. Each…
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