Government will soon start selling your vehicle’s registration data!

The Indian government has just approved a policy that seeks to sell vehicle registration data to individuals and  organizations who can pay for it. In other words, the Indian government wants to monetize the huge amount of data that now lies with it in the form of vehicle registration details. Each year, lakhs of vehicles are registered in  India, and consequently new data is constantly generated. All this data will be up for grabs soon, and the policy  that has just been approved for the same is called ‘Bulk Data Sharing’.

Government will soon start selling your vehicle’s registration data!

What will be shared?

A total of 28 fields of data that encompasses multiple details about a vehicle’s registration will be shared, and  this will include the vehicle’s registration number, financing details, insurance details and more. However, the name of the individual owning the vehicle will not be shared through the Bulk Data Sharing policy.

With whom will your vehicle’s registration details be shared?

Commercial organizations, individuals and educational institutions can access this data. Commercial organizations and individuals will have to pay Rs. 3 crore per year to access this data, beginning from 2019-20. As for educational  institutions, the fee will be just Rs. 5 lakh/year. However, educational institutions will be able to use this data  only for research purposes and internal use.

What does the government have to say about this policy in the document?

It is recognized that sharing data for other purposes, in a controlled manner, can support the transport and  automobile industry. The sharing of data will also help in service improvements and wider benefits to citizens and  government. In addition, it will also benefit the country’s economy. The prime focus is on delivering simpler, better  and safer services to the citizens. There is a possibility of triangulation. Free access to the vehicle’s basic data  is available to all the registered users through mParivahan App or through the web portal of the Ministry. The  information available shall be restricted to the basic details regarding statutory compliances and the owner’s name.  The purpose of this information is to promote statutory compliances and also facilitate individual hiring/ renting or  purchase/ sale of vehicles and hiring of drivers. The data at any point shall not be transferred/ processed/ stored  in a server outside India. The data dump will be provided in respect of the data as on 1st January, 1st April, 1st  July and 1st October of each calendar year, which will have data up to last day of the previous month. The data will  be encrypted with the public key of the nodal person of the purchasing organization who will manage the data  securely. Wherever it comes to the notice of the ministry through audit or any other source that the protocol of use  of data as prescribed herein has not been followed or has been violated, the person/ agency concerned shall be liable for any action permissible under the IT Act/ any other applicable law besides debarring of such agency from access to this data for a period of three years.

How could this affect you?

As of now, it’s unclear. However, it could lead to loss of privacy if the following occurs:

1. The government itself has admitted that data could be triangulated. What this means is if the registration details  of a vehicle is sold, Vahan app can be used to find out the name of the vehicle owner. Further social media outlets  such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. could be used to track down the owner of the vehicle.

2. Data leaks. As we’ve seen with Aadhar, mass leaks of individual data may happen at different levels. It’s implications are not known for now. But it’s not something that anyone who’s vehicle registration details have been leaked would be looking forward to.

2. Pesky tele-calling and similar marketing tactics such as the ones that most people in India who own a mobile phone have received at some point in time, may restart if companies accessing vehicle registration data manage to track down owners.

Via HindustanTimes