Even as the PDP Bill has proposed to set up a new data protection board, the TRAI has suggested the formation of the Data Digitization and Monetization Council (DDMC), an apex body to oversee all issues related to data digitization, data sharing, and data monetization in the country. The Authority further recommends that DDMC should also be entrusted with the responsibility of putting in place an overarching framework for the ethical use of data both by the Government as well as by the corporates in India.
As part of recommendations on Regulatory Framework for Promoting Data Economy Through the Establishment of Data Centres, Content Delivery Networks, and Interconnect Exchanges in India, TRAI noted that a statutory body, be established at the Centre, with suitable representation from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology (MeitY).
As per TRAI, DDMC should be the apex body to oversee all issues related to data digitization, data sharing, and data monetization in the country. “The proposed body should be entrusted with the responsibility to review and prioritise the avenues which would require more concentrated efforts of data digitization and fix timeframes accordingly. DDMC should also assess the data digitization requirements and define the process framework for use of AI and related technology in data processing, data sharing, and data monetization while ensuring the privacy and security of the data owner. The proposed body should also be entrusted with framing policies and incentivization schemes for data digitalization, data sharing, and data monetization,” said the recommendation note.
These recommendations come at a time when, when under the PDP Bill, the Centre proposes to set up a Data Protection Board. The functions of the board include recording reports of a personal data breach, reported by the Data Fiduciary. Ensuring that the Data Fiduciary fulfills obligations to protect personal data, such as levying penalties on Data Fiduciaries in case of compliance to the PDP Bill.
Interestingly, TRAI has also noted that there should not be “too many statutory bodies,” in the sector. TRAI said, “The Authority is also of opinion that the formation of too many statutory bodies creates confusion for the sector, and organically, this work of steering the data digitization, data sharing, and data monetization can be entrusted to TRAI with suitable modifications in the TRAI Act.”
At first glance, it appears that the roles of the two proposed bodies will differ, and the Data Protection Board looks to oversee compliance related to the propose legislation mostly dealing with data protection.
This will not be the first time in recent months, that the Ministry of Communications has crossed paths with the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology. Under the new telecom Bill, the Department of Telecommunication wishes to regulate communication OTTs such as WhatsApp and Signal, which would previously be under MietY, overseen by IT rules. OTT companies are telling the regulators at the DoT that, they should be overseen under MietY rather than the Ministry of Communications.