[Answered] Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) has the potential to improve data protection and privacy for citizens, however, there are also risks associated with it. Examine

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain significance of Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture. Also write some risks associated with it.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The objective of Data Empowerment & Protection Architecture (DEPA) is to provide the tools and utilities to build systems that can provide the user with mechanisms for protecting and sharing their data. It was launched by the NITI Aayog on the premise that individuals themselves are the best judges of the ‘right’ uses of their personal data.

Significance of DEPA in ensuring data protection:

  • It is designed as an evolvable framework for good data governance that empowers people to seamlessly and securely access their data and share it with third-party institutions.
  • DEPA will be empowering individuals with control over their personal data, by operationalising a regulatory, institutional, and technology design for secure data sharing.
  • It has been designed as a mechanism that goes beyond data protection through a Privacy Enhancement Technology (PET) to ensure data empowerment by facilitating smooth and secure data flow.
  • The user can determine the terms of data flow such as the scope and duration of data sharing and can revoke the same.
  • It separates consent collection from data flow. The “consent to collect” by a data user does not include “consent to share”.
  • The Consent Managers are data-blind themselves, as they do not store the data of users and merely act as a conduit
  • This users’ control over data not only results in increased competition but also fosters innovation.

There are also following risks associated with it:

  • India still does not have a data protection regulation. In the absence of a legal framework this technological solution could undermine the right to privacy under Article 21 of the constitution.
  • If the consent management tool is not properly implemented or managed, there is a risk that personal information could be misused or misappropriated. E.g., in health sector, sensitive medical information could be misused or exploited for commercial purposes.
  • An implementation may be inconsistent across different sectors and jurisdictions which may undermine effectiveness and create confusion among citizens.

The crafting of the country’s data governance must enable a secure, more egalitarian, and trustworthy digital future for all.

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