LocalCircles raises data concerns of startups with govt

LocalCircles raises data concerns of startups with govt
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9 Sep, 2019

As discussions on anonymising business data get underway at the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), community engagement platform LocalCircles has written to the ministry seeking clarity on its data policy.

In August, MeitY had reached out to select stakeholders for comments on storage and anonymisation of ecommerce business data.  A questionnaire sent out by the ministry included questions on mandating free access to non-personal data including ecommerce, anonymised and community data.

The letter by LocalCircles to the ministry says startups are confused about which department owns the ecommerce data. Also, businesses are reportedly unsure about the relaxation for the cross-border exchange of non-personal business data. 

The platform surveyed 6,000 startups before sending the letter. TechCircle has reviewed a copy of the representation by LocalCircles. 

The platform has recommended setting up a startup social responsibility programme where large corporations can share aggregate datasets from the sector. Startups can access this data to grow their businesses. 

“Large corporations will be happy to share data related to the sector where they are trying to build capabilities. Startups can develop their products and services to plug this gap accordingly,” said Sachin Taparia, founder and chairman, LocalCircles. 

There have been discussions on formulating a separate policy to govern anonymised and business data by the government, removing the need to incorporate changes to the draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill to be tabled in the Parliament by the end of the year. 

The mandate for determining the guidelines around data localisation and processing for ecommerce businesses has been handed over to MeitY from the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT). This was made official by commerce minister Piyush Goyal in June.