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What is Non-Personal Data?

Why in  news?

A government committee headed by Infosys co-founder has suggested that non-personal data generated in the country be allowed to be harnessed by various domestic companies and entities.

What is non-personal data?

  • In its most basic form, non-personal data is any set of data which does not contain personally identifiable information.
  • This, in essence, means that no individual or living person can be identified by looking at such data.
  • For example, while order details collected by a food delivery service will become non-personal data if the identifiers such as name and contact information are taken out.
  • The government committee, which submitted its report, has classified non-personal data into three main categories, namely public non-personal data, community non-personal data and private non-personal data.

Types of non-personal data

Depending on the source of the data and whether it is anonymised in a way that no individual can be re-identified from the data set, the three categories have been divided:

1) Public

All the data collected by government and its agencies such as census, data collected by municipal corporations on the total tax receipts in a particular period or any information collected during execution of all publicly funded works have been kept under the umbrella of public non-personal data.

2) Community

Any data identifiers about a set of people who have the same geographic location, religion, job, or other common social interests will form the community non-personal data. For example, the metadata collected by ride-hailing apps, telecom companies, electricity distribution companies among others have been put under the community non-personal data category by the committee.

3) Private

Private non-personal data can be defined as those which are produced by individuals which can be derived from the application of proprietary software or knowledge.

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