TRAI Expresses Interest In Becoming India’s Data Leader; MeitY Not Keen

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  • Trai is pitching to become the nodal authority for data security, privacy and cybercrime
  • Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill envisages the data regulator as a much stronger and bigger body
  • Trai’s pitch comes as the government is preparing to introduce the PDP Bill in Parliament

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) wants to be the country’s data czar but the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) doesn’t seem to be too keen on this. 

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The telecom watchdog is pitching to become the nodal authority for data security, privacy and cybercrime because all the relevant information passes through mobile phone networks, said people with knowledge of the matter to Economic Times.

According to the English Daily, a senior MeitY official rejected this view, saying the proposed Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill envisages the data regulator as a much stronger and bigger body, with much more powers and different areas of responsibilities. The person was of the opinion that Trai was specifically designed to be just regulator for telecom.

The regulator’s ambit includes recommendations on privacy, security and ownership of data in the telecom sector, covering apps, browsers, operating systems and handset makers. In addition, Trai has also issued recommendations on machine-to-machine communications and the internet of things. 

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Introduction of the PDP Bill
Trai’s pitch comes as the government is preparing to introduce the PDP Bill in Parliament. The bill envisages setting up of a national-level Data Protection Authority (DPA) to supervise and regulate data fiduciaries or entities that process personal data such as fintech and e-commerce companies. This body will deal with matters such as user consent. Trai currently doesn’t have the power to impose penalties or the geographical spread the Bill envisages. 

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