Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to monetize through available data from its 100 million registered users. In fact, the IRCTC has put out a call for tenders. It is proposed to appoint a consultant for the monetization of digital data in this call for tenders. This notice will give suggestions on how to sell user data.
According to the IRCTC tender document, the data of the appointed consultant will study the users, including name, age, mobile number, gender, address, email id, the number. Apart from that, passenger class, payment method, login data/password will also be reflected.
What will the work of the consultant be: According to the offer, the consultant will also have access to the digital data system. It was also specified in the offer that the consultant will study various acts or laws related to data and IT. It will be suggested by the advisor how user data can be monetized. For this, the appointed consultant will prepare a roadmap. This move will help IRCTC improve its margins.
Data Concerns: This news has created apprehension among millions of IRCTC users as India still does not have a data protection law. Recently, the central government withdrew the controversial Personal Data Protection Bill 2019. It aimed to find out how businesses and governments can use citizens’ digital data.
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What the experts say: Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization that champions digital rights and freedoms, expressed concern over the tender and cited its pitfalls in a series of tweets. He said the IRCTC should not prioritize malformed commercial interests over the rights and interests of citizens. Considering the recent withdrawal of the Data Protection Bill, 2021, such a move becomes all the more worrying.