Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture

Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture

News: India’s G-20 presidency has provided an opportunity for the country to ensure that its digital strategies and data governance are inclusive, transparent, secure and conducive to sustainable development.

 In recent years, India has made great strides in its digital strategies/data governance by embracing technology (say, UPI) and digitalisation which has been driving force for economic growth and improving the lives of citizens.
 However, the issues of ownership and governance of data generated and collected and data sovereignty have become increasingly important.
 Data sovereignty is the idea that data is subject to the laws and governance structures of the nation where they are collected.
 Given this, it is unreasonable to deny people control over their data and India’s DEPA a consent management tool, has generated both excitement and concern among stakeholders.

What is DEPA?
 It was launched by the NITI Aayog in 2020 on the premise that individuals themselves are the best judges of the ‘right’ uses of their personal data.
 It is designed as an evolvable/agile framework for good data governance that empowers people to seamlessly and securely access their data and share it with third-party institutions.

What are advantages of DEPA?
 Potential to improve data protection and privacy for citizens
 Allowing individuals to easily manage and control their data consent
 Build trust in digital technologies and data governance.

What are its limitations?
 Personal data could be misused or misappropriated if the consent management tool is not properly implemented.
 An implementation may be inconsistent across different sectors and jurisdictions which undermine effectiveness, and creates confusion among citizens.

Way Forward
 The DEPA must be implemented in a transparent, consistent and secure manners.
 Clear, transparent and accountable data governance policies and regulations. India Data Management Office (IDMO) proposed by MeitY will frame/manage review/revise the National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFP).
 Investment in the necessary digital infrastructure and skills. India Stack is a unified software platform that provides digital public goods, and application interfaces and facilitates digital inclusion.
 Advances in financial inclusion (UPI) can be replicated successfully in other areas (health, agriculture).
 International cooperation and collaboration in addressing risks posed by the rapid growth of data and digital technologies. 

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