POLICY Alert: How TRAI views your Right to Privacy and Data Security in Telecom?

TRAI on July 16th issued its Recommendations on "Privacy, Security and Ownership of Data in the Telecom Sector".

 

What?

 

In the aftermath of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the release of GDPR rules in the European Union; privacy, consent, and data security have achieved a mainstream consumer interest narrative. India's vulnerability to Cyber Crime, continuous judicial activism post Aadhaar, and its sheer demographic scale has ensured this debate is as relevant on domestic shores. TRAI's recommendations act as a suitable reference point for things to come. 

 

5 Key Takeaways: 

 

1. The user owns his/her data; Entities (i.e. mobile devices, tablets, PCs, telecom service providers etc.) are mere "custodians" of data

 

2. Entities within the digital eco-system should be restrained from using Meta-data to identify users 

 
3. The Right to Choice, Notice, Consent, Data Portability, and Right to be forgotten should be conferred upon the telecommunication consumers (largely in-line with EU GDPR) 
POLICY Alert: How TRAI views your Right to Privacy and Data Security in Telecom?
 
4. Use of "pre-ticked boxes" to gain users consent should be prohibited. User Agreements should be short, easy to understand, unbiased, and multi-lingualPOLICY Alert: How TRAI views your Right to Privacy and Data Security in Telecom?
 
5. A study should be undertaken to formulate the standards for anonymisation/de-identification of personal data generated/collected in the digital eco-system

 
What it Means for You? 
 
TRAI wants to give consumers more control of his/her data and in turn giving consumers greater control on privacy. The recommendations (if adopted) should make tracking and monetizing of consumer data a much trickier exercise by entities within the digital eco-system. For a country where the right to privacy is subject to constitutional confusion, it is welcome to increase data security norms in order to fill the void. As usual, timely and efficient execution and enforcement is key. 
 
For a deeper-dive into TRAI's recommendations click here.