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27 Sep 2016

Rajesh Vellakkat at INBA-IAPP panel discussion on Privacy issues in an IP Ecosystem

Rajesh Vellakkat, Partner leading the firm’s Technology practice was a panellist at the 2nd Annual INBA-IAPP India Summit held at Bangalore on September 23, 2016. The event, organized by the Indian National Bar Association (INBA) and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) had several panel discussions. Rajesh’s panel, discussed the suitability of existing IP laws to regulate the use of private data- a topic of rising significance in an increasingly digital world, included Mr. S.K Murthy (Intel), Mr. Sudarshan (ABB), Mr. Irfan Modi (IBM) and Mr. Vijay Shyam Acharya (Quest Global).

Rajesh’s view was that existing IP laws are not sufficient to address privacy issues. Private data is a hugely valuable asset; indeed, data is often referred to as the “oil” of the digital economy. Many new generation businesses owe a huge chunk of their valuation to the massive amounts of customer data they possess and the potential commercial utility of such information and the insights that can be extracted therefrom. Many companies gather personal data in many forms under the guise of having obtained “consent” of the data subject and “contract”. In reality, there is often no explicit consent from data subjects, who are increasingly of the view that although their personal data is being exploited for commercial benefit by companies, they (the data subjects) do not benefit monetarily. The current legal regime for Privacy based on “consent and contract” prevailing in Europe and mandated in GDPR is not a solution.

To remedy this situation, Rajesh suggested the following approach: All personal data and personally identifiable data should be declared as “Property”. Data subjects should have the freedom to allow commercial exploitation of his/her data. Privacy should be the individual’s choice, i.e. data subjects should have the freedom to decide what data about them may or may not be used commercially. There must be a sharing of the revenue from data use with data subject. To enable all this, there must be a data market, a data exchange and data intermediaries. A regulator must be set up for regulating businesses dealing with data and sui generis legislation is needed to address the concerns of citizens globally.

Most panellists conceptually agreed with these thoughts and suggested the need for wider discussions on these lines.

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