goi: putting a price tag on public data is tricky

The Indian government is seeking views on a draft policy to share data collected by its various branches and sell value-added datasets. The project proposes a regulator to assess data quality and a standardization agency to facilitate access. The goal is to open up public data to companies and individuals through sharing, licensing or selling, within the limits set by national security and individual privacy. The GoI plans to streamline data collection by various ministries and departments and reduce duplication as datasets comply with interoperability standards. It also proposes to create a data retention framework.

This policy will, of course, have to wait for a privacy law before the GoI can implement public data monetization plans. A previous attempt to sell vehicle registration data had to be canceled for confidentiality reasons. In the absence of a privacy law and regulatory framework, it is unclear how the Indian government intends to go about, for example, obtaining consent and anonymizing citizen data. which he holds in trust. The Joint Parliamentary Committee to review the Data Protection Bill has expanded its scope to cover non-personal data and the Indian government is considering a complete overhaul of the legislation.

Putting a price on a national resource like public data can be tricky. India’s experience in selling spectrum to telecommunications operators would prove this. Moreover, while the policy tries to monetize the added value, the commercial application would also benefit from the collection of raw data. This collection was financed by taxpayers’ money. Finally, GoI will also enter a fairly developed data mining market and may face resistance from technology companies that have incorporated this business into their business models.

Richard L. Militello