Saturday, August 29, 2009

Data Privacy

Privacy is a significant issue when it comes to personal data. We worry about it all the time. But, in these times, everything seems to be out in the open. Marketing agencies get hold of all our profiling data (demographics, transaction history, etc.) and pitch new products every day. Now when we talk about creating a common database of billion plus people as part of UID effort, first question that comes to our mind is "how safe will be my data".

It is imperative that privacy is taken seriously and built into the architecture to secure the data. But, at the end of the day, do the bottom of the society really care of their data privacy. I feel that educated upper class has the basic needs taken care and we have the luxury of debating all these. But, for the poorest of the section, it simply does not matter, at least for now. Eventually, when their basic needs are met, they will surely start worrying about these issues. But, that is several years away.

But, one way or other, when designing a system such as UID, data privacy should be of utmost importance from a system design perspective and cannot be compromised. Securing the data, avoiding tampering, and most importantly completely protecting data from leaking out are all part of architecture design we need to go through. Other aspects such as laws and policies surrounding the use of UID data are also critical.


  1. [But, at the end of the day, do the bottom of the society really care of their data privacy.]

    The bottom of the society probably doesn't care about ill effects to their health which may occur 10 years down the line due to a polluting power plant, if it's giving them electricity, water, and jobs today. But that doesn't mean people who know the medium/long term effects of such a decision, ignore these factors.

    IMO, breach in data security & privacy can very easily lead to serious identity theft. Marketers getting their hands on your data is the least of one's worries. Identity theft matters to one & all.

    Just my two cents on this topic.

  2. The other day i was talking to my friends and the topic of UID project came up. I shared some of the challenges [source: your blog :) ] you guys are facing on all sorts of fronts; technical, social, budgeting and logistics. we spent quite a time discussing various aspects of the UID project.

    Thanks a lot for sharing these details with us. They are educational and inspiring.

    Keep posting. :)