Draft Data Anonymisation Guidelines Pulled Down a Week After Being Put Up For Public Comments

Last week, the draft document that listed guidelines for data anonymisation was removed from the information technology ministry’s website. The draft had been put up for public feedback just a week prior to being withdrawn. This is not the first instance of sudden retraction of draft Bills. In the past two years alone, major changes have been made to data-related Bills – the draft Indian Data Accessibility & Use Policy, 2022, was updated without any notification, and in 2021, the draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021, were unceremoniously taken down during public consultations.

MeitY was in the news in August when it withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill after facing much pushback from several quarters. The ministry said a new legal framework incorporating several changes and amendments would replace it. 

Data anonymisation draft pulled down

Two drafts – the Guidelines for Anonymisation of Data (AoD) and Mobile Security Guidelines (MSG) – listing guidelines on data anonymisation were put up on the IT ministry’s website for public consultation. The website had announced that all the public comments made until September 21 would be considered. It may be noted that the documents were released on a new website, instead of the official website of MeitY. Interestingly, no press release accompanied these documents at the time of uploading. 

A government official told ET that data anonymisation is a complex issue that needs wider consultation. “We will talk to experts again, look at global examples, examine them, and then put up the draft for public consultation in a few days,” the source said.

The data anonymisation draft included guidelines for all stakeholders involved in personal data processing and its subtypes through the e-governance projects. The draft aimed to lay down the recommendations for processing of the data collected through…