Online data protection has become the biggest global problem since advances in digitalization. From payment gateways to social media platforms, every user interface has the power to obtain its users’ data through fair or unfair means. This is why a personal data protection bill was formed by the government in 2021 but it has now been withdrawn.

This also affected Indian Railway Department IRCTC’s policy decision that they were about to implement on their passenger data to monetize it. However, the Indian government’s decision to withdraw the Data Protection Bill in this context is not welcomed by the Internet Freedom Foundation and other sections of society!

Read also : The parliamentary panel makes a report of recommendations on the protection of personal data

What does passage of the bill mean?

The withdrawal of the Data Protection Bill by the government and the cancellation of the tender by the IRCTC means that the government can now use the private data of every passenger who uses the services of the IRCTC for traveling. Basic details including name, address, phone number, age, email id, payment method, usernames and passwords, travel class and other details Similar data may be collected by the Department of Railways without the oversight of an official data protection bill. The government or IRCTC authorities can use this data to monetize it, regardless of the user’s consent.

IRCTC Data Monetization Plan

Online rail giant IRCTC planned to hire a consultant who would collect user data from their website and app and then monetize it for various purposes. However, this action has now been withdrawn by them and the same has been informed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, by IRCTC officials.

At the meeting, Congress Leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor was also present apart from IRCTC officials who were summoned for questioning related to data breach policy and monetization of the data law. After that, the officials withdrew the bill and said that the failure to pass the data protection bill decided to change their decision, however, no official claim has yet been made by the Department of Data Protection. railways regarding the withdrawal and operation of the bill.

Some policies and suggestions

  • Even as the Internet expands its reach, the privacy of its users is still under threat. Therefore, it is high time to pass such a bill that covers the protection of public data of any online user.
  • The government must impose strict compensation and actions against those who violate users’ privacy and use their personal data for personal gain.
  • Allowing cookies for any website or online action should be taken care of so that too much data is not exposed to the authorities.
  • Passenger master data in IRCTC or any other such platform should not be accessed by the parent platform unless a criminal motive is found or some other legal emergency arises.


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Data privacy: Here’s why the IRCTC scrapped a plan to monetize passenger data

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This also affected Indian Railway Department IRCTC’s policy decision that they were about to implement on their passenger data to monetize it.


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