IRCTC withdraws tender to monetize customer data over privacy concerns

Recently there was an announcement form IRCTC, one of the largest railway service provider/employer in the world. The announcement was that they will be generating Rs 1000 crore from selling user data. Apparently, the Indian Railway has more than 100 terabytes of passenger data which will utilized by them for selling and monetizing themselves. Also, it states that this initiative is to enhance facilitation and to further improve the services.

The above announcement took a different turn for IRCTC as many raised concerns regarding the privacy and hence within a few days they were forced to take down the plan. And according to other reports this is not the first time that IRCTC has come up with this plan. Back in May 2017, under the leadership of the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Indian Railways announced that it would use analytics to find ways to monetize the data available with it. But this plan was eventually dropped because of the issues related to data privacy and data violation factors even after government’s repeated assurance that it would comply with the laws and regulations.

What we need to understand from this is that the practice of data selling and monetization is very common and most of the MNCs do this. Just because IRCTC announced it, they grabbed attention, and the public was able to stop it.

So, the actual question here is, what about others who do the same? Who is going to give us assurance that our data won’t be sold? What if the announcement that IRCTC has withdrawn the plan is just to calm the public? The only possible solution to this problem will be a proper data privacy law, which is beneficial to all parties especially the common people whose data is used. We are in so need of laws that protect our privacy. Its high time we raise our voice against this and get this resolved.

Lets be responsible, lets be loud, lets ask for our rights.
Join our movement MY DATA MY RIGHTS, a global social movement to spread awareness.

Ashith Piriyttiath- Group Head of IT of Al Masah Capital is awarded as the CIO of the year 2017 across the Middle East by CNME along with many awards in the industry, especially for the implementation of large scale CLOUD Projects and Digitals Transformation Projects. Ashith is a C- Level IT Executive who brings with him more than 16 years of functional exposure in the areas of Sales and Distribution, Supply Chain, Marketing and Finance. Solid experience in Application Management, ERP Implementation, IT Infrastructure Management, Business Analysis, Project Management, Delivery Management, Service Desk Management, Change Management & Software Development. His career spans Multinationals, Pharmaceuticals, FMCGs, Banks, the Education sector, Logistics vertical, Health care and Alternative Investment industries. Having completed the Master of Computer Application, Ashith leads the Digital Transformation journey of a group of companies from legacy infrastructure by moving most of its group company's infrastructure to CLOUD.


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