How Public Should Public Data Be?: Privacy and E governance in India

January 12, 2019
Loading Events
  • This event has passed.


India is at a critical juncture as its city government’s move into the digital age to provide citizen services that are more efficient and transparent, but do so in an environment where the concern for privacy and data protection is growing. Data protection has been a sensitive topic ever since the Supreme Court bench decided, in August 2017, that privacy is a fundamental constitutional right of every Indian, and the subsequentpublic consultation by the committee headed by Retd. Justice Srikrishna that has produced a Personal Data Protection Bill in August, 2018.

It is in this context that this research asks the following question: how can cities (a state actor) use citizen data to maximize governance while protecting citizens’ fundamental right to privacy? We examine how this balance and tradeoffs arise due to the way Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) collect, use, and disclose citizen data. For the investigation, we collect ULB metadata by examining the architecture of the products of eGovernments Foundation, one of the leading providers of digital tools for ULBs, and by directly interacting with the ULBs. Based on this investigation, we define two new indices, viz. Governance Efficiency Index (GEI), and Information Privacy Index (IPI). These allow for measuring a city’s performance on the two dimensions, understanding where tensions arise while simultaneously improving performance on both, and where innovation will overcome such tensions. In addition to being able to make specific observations and recommendations for the particular cases we have examined, this work argues that such analysis can and should be done more widely in order to understand the tradeoffs between government transparency and efficiency on one hand, and privacy on the other.



About the Speaker

Chintan Vaishnav is a socio-technologist, an engineer trained to understand and build large-scale systems with both human as well as technological complexities. He is motivated to build socio-technical solutions that overcome constraints fundamental to improving human conditions in resource-poor environments. He pursues this objective at the intersection of Information Technology and Systems, Development, and Public Policy. He is a Senior Lecturer in MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and serves as the Academic Director of Tata Center for Technology + Design. He is also a Visiting Faculty at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.


January 12, 2019
Event Category:


Center for Policy Studies
IIT Bombay
Mumbai, Maharastra 400076 India





IPPN Conference 2024

12:00 am - 11:59 pmIIT Bombay

Panel Discussion • Indian Higher Education in Global Context

3:30 pm - 5:00 pmBoard Room, Fourth Floor, VMCC

Talk • Ranking and World Class Universities

3:30 pm - 5:00 pmVMCC Hall No.22

Talk • Culture as Policy and Policy as Culture

5:30 pm - 7:00 pmADCPS Conference Room