Consumers be given the right to choice, consent over their data: TRAI

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In a significant recommendations concerning privacy, security and ownership of data in telecom sector the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said on July 16 that rules for protection of personal data in the telecom space are not sufficient and suggests that consumers be given the right to choice, consent and to be forgotten to safeguard their privacy.

The recommendations from TRAI came in the backdrop of rising concerns around privacy and safety of user data, especially through mobile apps and social media platforms.

“The Right to Choice, Notice, Consent, Data Portability, and Right to be Forgotten should be conferred upon the telecommunication consumers,” TRAI recommended to the Department of Telecom.

TRAI also recommends that all entities in the digital ecosystem, which control or process the data, should be restrained from using meta-data to identify the individual users.

“This is the first time I’ve seen TRAI being bold enough to venture into this area. There are many positives here in terms of the data protection regime that they want to set up,” Pranesh Prakash, a policy director at the Centre for Internet Society reportedly said during an interview.

TRAI also recommends that a study should be undertaken to formulate the standards for annonymisation/de-identification of personal data generated and collected in the digital eco-system.

Telecom industry body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said, “One of the positive takeaways from the recommendations is that TRAI has talked about data privacy in the context of devices, operating systems, browsers and applications.”

“Till such time a general data protection law is notified by the government, the existing rules/licence conditions applicable to TSPs for protection of users’ privacy be made applicable to all the entities in the digital ecosystem,” TRAI recommendation reads.