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Karnataka becomes fifth state to monetise citizens’ data

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In line with the Union government’s plan to monetise public data for larger public good, the Karnataka government has decided to allow “sell” its citizen information, but only by keeping personal data anonymous, reports The Deccan Herald.

Karnataka has become only the fifth state after Telangana, Odisha, Sikkim and Punjab to open its citizen data to private parties.

According to the Karnataka Open Data Policy, personal and sensitive citizen information like name, address, ID details and religion will be masked before sharing with private parties or individuals for monetisation.

Also read: Karnataka schools to reopen for students of classes 1 to 5

As a result of this policy change, any private educational institute, organisation, enterprise, industry, or service sector player, registered in India and operational for 2 years, can sign a pact with the state government, including a non-disclosure pact, and buy data to make business decisions, the media house reported.

Shreevyas HM, project director of the Karnataka Open Data Interface at the Centre for e-Governance, told Deccan Herald how the new data monetisation policy will work. “We also know the literacy rates, disease and patient details. So, data on an area with a high population but low literacy where there aren’t good schools may be purchased to identify where a school or hospital can be opened.”

Also read: Bengaluru is most linguistically diverse city in country: Study

The Union government’s Economic Survey, released in 2019, suggested monetisation of citizens’ data “as part of its larger plan to use data as a public good”.

The Survey report said that data collection, storage, processing and dissemination have become cost –effective due to technological advancements. Hence, it should be taken advantage of.

“Data is generated by the people, of the people and should be used for the people. As a public good, data can be democratised and put to the best possible use,” the Economic Survey stated.

The Survey report suggested that data shared by citizens, knowingly or unknowingly, can be used for effective delivery of government services. Monetising this data can help improve targeting in welfare schemes and subsidies by reducing errors, the Economic Survey said.

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