Trai Says Consumer Should Be Empowered in Respect of Ownership and Control of Personal Data, Issues Paper

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has come up with a consultation paper on "Privacy, Security and Ownership of the Data in the Telecom Sector" with an aim to identify the scope and definition of personal data, ownership and control of data of users of telecom services.

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"The availability of data has enhanced the business and efficiency potential of data analytics. However, it is equally important to assess whether the data rights of individuals are being adequately protected in this changing environment. Data protection may, therefore, mean the ability of individuals to understand and control the manner in which information pertaining to them can be accessed and used by others," the regulator said.

The Trai said that it is of the view that the users should be empowered in respect of ownership and control of his/her personal data and to ensure this, all the players in the eco-system are bound to follow certain safeguards while collecting, storing and using the data pertaining to their subscribers.

The paper also aims to understand and identify the rights and responsibilities of data controllers. Besides, it will try to assess the adequacy and efficiency of data protection measures currently in place in the telecom sector.

Furthermore, the paper's objective is to identify the key issues pertaining to data protection in relation to the delivery of digital services. This includes the provision of telecom and Internet services by telecom and Internet service providers (TSPs) as well the other devices, networks and applications that connect with users through the services offered by TSPs and collect and control user data in that process.

"The rapid evolution of telecommunications services in India has aided the overall economic and social development of the country. It has enabled better connectivity among users, increasing use of information and communication technology (ICT) services and the emergence of a variety of new business models. Parallelly, there has been a quantum leap in the quantity and value of data that is being generated through the use of modern communication services. Each step of a user's interaction with ICT services, whether through traditional telecom services, devices, applications or other forms of content, results in the generation of large amounts of data," the regulator said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The regulator said that stakeholders can submit written comments on the consultation paper by 8 September 2017, while counter comments may be submitted by 22 September 2017.

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