Oct 26, 2020

Response to the Expert Committee Report on Non-personal Data Governance Framework

Concerns with the Non-Personal Data Governance Framework

Our response to the committee appreciates the intention of the framework to better distribute the public value of data. However, we highlight that the distinction it attempts to make between personal and non-personal data and the categories of data it creates, is difficult owing to the many ways data can relate to an individual that is not only based on the origin and source of data. Further, we point out that anonymised data can also be used to the detriment of the individual.

We also suggest better policy pathways to fulfil the report's intention to redistribute value in the data economy through three strategies - by updating competition law to include control over data and network effects; platform neutrality to ensure Big Tech platforms cannot unfairly discriminate other businesses; and platform interoperability to enable consumer choice and reduce the weight of network effects.

Our response also notes that AI needs to advance through better computing power and talent, not placing higher reliance on Big Data as is proposed by the framework. We also point out that the mandating sharing of data is likely to stifle business innovation and healthy markets, as through such mandating sharing and ambiguity of threshold set by the framework, larger players are likely to benefit.

Further, the introduction of data trusts appears premature as issues of community representation and power dynamics first need addressal. The framework could also enable overreach by the state that would result in the infringement of individual rights and liberties and causing a chilling effect on the functioning of democracy and markets.


AI & Society


Urvashi Aneja

Urvashi Aneja is Founding Director of Tandem Research. Her work examines the ways in which digital technologies are restructuring political, economic, and social relations in India, and the global south. She has written extensively on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence, labor wellbeing and rights in a gig economy, and the politics of international aid and civil society networks. Urvashi is also Associate Fellow at Chatham House and has served on government committees on artificial intelligence and frontier technologies. She has a PhD from the Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford. Previously, she was Associate Professor of International Relations at the OP Jindal Global University and Research Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.

Zaheb Ahmad

Zaheb is a Research Fellow at Tandem Research. His work explores institutions and governance arrangements in India, anchoring people-centred approaches to the environment and data. Zaheb is currently working on setting up an 'urban living lab' in Panaji - an experimental governance approach, established at the boundaries between research, innovation and policy, for urban sustainability transitions in India. Zaheb holds an LL.M with specialisation in Environmental Law from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and B.L.S, LL.B from Government Law College, University of Mumbai. His Master’s research deconstructs the functioning of the Environmental Impact Assessment mechanism in India and explores environmental justice implications for impacted communities.

Harsh Ghildiyal

Harsh Ghildiyal is a Research Associate at Tandem Research working on the AI & Society initiative. His current work is focused on issues of data, artificial intelligence, privacy, and platform governance. He is interested in understanding the social implications of technologies and the legal and regulatory responses to them, and working towards an equitable technological future. He has a degree in humanities and law from Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam.

Joanne D'Cunha

Joanne D'Cunha is a research associate with the AI and Society Initiative at Tandem. Her work focuses on data governance, artificial intelligence, and related legal and policy challenges. She's interested in investigating the implications of data and emerging technologies, and its interaction with law and society. She has a Masters of Law in Information Technology from the University of Sussex, and a Bachelors of Arts and Law from Symbiosis Law School.