Big Data Analytics and Confidentiality : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Key phrases: Big Data Analytics, Confidentiality, privacy, application, concern, IT Act 2000, Data Protection Rules 2011

Why in News?

  • The objectives of using big data must be clearly spelt out, as also its cost of operation and maintenance.

Big Data Analytics in India:

  • India is one of the fastest-growing countries adopting artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and IoT.
  • According to reports, the Indian analytics industry is estimated to reach approximately US$16 billion by 2025.
  • A recent study reveals that between the years 2021 to 2026, the industry will grow at a CAGR of 35.1%.

Big data refers to massive volumes of data that is generated by the increased use of digital tools and information systems. Data has no meaning unless there is context, and four types of big data analytics include descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.

The benefits of data analytics include inter alia better understanding of  behavioural patterns of consumers and citizens to maximise commercial/policy outcomes, proactivity and better anticipation of needs, and allows tailored policy solutions and reduce inefficiencies.

Application of Big Data Analytics:

  • Healthcare: Big data has proved to be one of the grandest blessings for the Indian healthcare industry. Several hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, R&D centers are utilizing the benefits of big data technologies and predictive analytics to facilitate the best treatments for the patients.
  • Data analytics has also helped healthcare specialists to create cancer treatments. Predictive analytics is implemented to detect the success rates of different treatments and develop personalized treatment plans to best suit the patients’ needs.
  • Education: Implementing big data in the education sector has enabled researchers and educators to understand the needs of the students. Educational institutions are leveraging big data to analyze students’ performances based on the different assignments and tasks allotted to them. Colleges and universities are now using analytics to develop customized programs to ensure that students can follow the classes and work at their own pace.
  • Finance: The fintech industry in India is growing rapidly. Indian fintech companies rely heavily on big data analytics to make crucial business decisions and gain a competitive edge in the finance market. The finance and banking industry is aware of the importance of big data. Ex.The usage of Sesame Credit are facilitating ‘bike share service’, ‘power bank service’ and ‘small loan service, wherein its benefits include lowering the cost of trust, providing credit service to more Chinese and helping building a trustworthy society.
  • Governance: The Indian government had been giving vocal importance of Big Data, as it was the core of the digital India campaign. In 2019, the government announced a slew of the project, which rely heavily on Big Data services. The first project was announced in September 2016, where the Indian government was planning to use drones, AI, and Big Data, to digitally map India.

Risk associated with Big Data Analytics:

Its risks include:

  • Increased privacy infringement;
  • Data integration coupled with cultural diversity and non-sharing of data, scattering of data across companies, countries, languages and forms; and
  • Massive data processing requires stronger computing power.
  • Several incidents of leakage of Aadhaar data underlined the need for the government to increase the security and safety of virtual data it collects from its citizens.

Example in World:

  • The data protection and promotion in Japan is a fine balance in this “trade-off”. While its Personal Data Protection Act prohibits deemed consent about sensitive information, its “Next Generation Healthcare Infrastructure Act” allows the anonymisation agency to deal with medical information with deemed consent and researchers get data from the agency.
  • As per Japan’s Cancer Information Registration Act, hospitals must report anonymised cancer information to the government, which runs a cancer database.
  • Another noteworthy example is ‘disaster big data in Japan’ which helped it in re-building after a tsunami/earthquake. It helped Japan to get answers to questions like: ‘how many people were in the tsunami affected area, at the exact time when tsunami struck?’, ‘what is the actual behaviour of people in the affected area when the evacuation warning was issued?’ and ‘how long it actually took to proceed 100 m in heavily congested road to evacuate?’
  • This helped Japan to device disaster resilient city development planning in the Rehabilitation Master Plan.
  • One other example is Google Flu Trends, a data programme that queried search data to track influenza outbreaks wherein Google analysed this search data privately but made the findings publicly available to help health providers track flu outbreak.

Way forward:

  • Thus the way forward for consideration for the policymakers on data analytics and confidentiality debate is that there should be clear objectives of using big data which is essential to mobilise multiple institutions.
  • Data Philanthropy is also relevant here and Data Philanthropy mitigate potential business risks by contributing to a more informed policy environment, generate goodwill, support community partnership, provide insights for social good and validate internal data and spark innovation. This may generally be termed as the act of sharing private data for public good.
  • There may be a clear balance between the needs of open data platform and its cost of operation and maintenance as well as the importance of making decisions based on the big data analysis. There is no doubt to the famous quote “information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine”.

Data protection Law in India:

Data protection in India is currently governed by the Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011 (“Data Protection Rules”) notified under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”).

The Data Protection Rules impose certain obligations and compliance requirements on organizations that collect, process, store and transfer sensitive personal data or information of individuals such as obtaining consent, publishing a privacy policy, responding to requests from individuals, disclosure and transfer restrictions.

Section 43A of the IT Act 200 requires a body corporate possessing or handling sensitive personal data or information in a computer resource to implement ‘reasonable security practices and procedures’ to protect such information from ‘unauthorized access, damage, use, modification, disclosure or impairment.

Proposed India’s new Personal Data Protection Bill 2019:

It will be India’s first law focusing solely on data privacy and protection. It covers:

  • Requirements for notice and prior consent for the use of individual data.
  • Limitations on the purposes for which data can be collected or processed, and it has restrictions to ensure that only the data essential for providing a service is collected.
  • Data localisation requirements, and it necessitates the appointment of data protection officers within organisations.
  • Establishing a separate regulator called the Data Protection Authority of India (DPA) to protect and regulate the use of citizens’ personal data.

Source: The Hindu BL

Mains Question:

Q. “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and data analytics is the combustion engine”. Comment (250words)