Non-personal data explained! Classification and sensitivity

Ankit Kumar
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non personal data

Personal Data VS Non-Personal Data: Things to keep in mind before you share anything


Recently, a government committee headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has advised that non-personal data generated in the country should be allowed to be used by several domestic entities and companies. The nine-member committee released the draft and kept the time till August 13 for the common public to send suggestions. The draft also suggested setting up a new authority to keep a watch on the mining and use of non-personal data.

Non-personal data explained!

Non-personal data is any kind of information which doesn’t identify a person. To be more precise, with non-personal data, no individual can be identified by looking into the data. Suppose, when you order a product from e-commerce website it has your Name, Age, Gender, Sex and Contact information, but if name and contact information is removed from it, it will become non-personal data.

The government committee has classified non-personal data into three categories – community non-personal data, non-personal data and private non-personal data. The categories are divided depending upon the source of data and whether the data has been anonymized in a way that none of the individuals can be recognized.

Understanding the different types of non-personal data

Data collected by the government and its agents such as census data, any information collected during the execution of public-funded works, income tax receipts in a particular period and more are kept under the pubic non-personal data.

Community personal data is that data which identifies a set of people who have the same geographic location, job, religion, or other common social interests. Some prime examples could be the data collected by ride-sharing applications, electricity distribution companies and telecom companies.

Data that are produced by individuals and can be derived from the application of proprietary software or knowledge is classified as private non-personal data.

Read more: Jio 5G is here to rescue Indians: Important details to understand

Is non-personal data important for you?

While personal data contains explicit information about an individual’s name, biometric, age, gender, and other genetic details, non-personal data is mostly in anonymized form.

However, these anonymized data in certain categories like data related to the national security of India, or strategic interests such as the location of research facilities and government laboratories can be dangerous.

In a similar way, data which has information about a group of communities or the health of a community can be dangerous even in anonymized form.

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