Home Travel consultant Railways to tender for consultant to monetize customer data, may withdraw it over privacy concerns – The New Indian Express

Railways to tender for consultant to monetize customer data, may withdraw it over privacy concerns – The New Indian Express

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By PTI

NEW DELHI: Railways has launched a tender to hire a consultant to monetize its passenger and freight customer data with the aim of generating revenue of up to Rs 1,000 crore, but sources said it may be removed due to privacy concerns.

While many social media outlets, including advocacy groups, have raised concerns about breaching data privacy issues, government sources clarified that the consultant would advise the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on the steps to take to improve its existing business and plan monetization strategies. future opportunities.

Although the railways have not officially commented on the tender, senior sources have said it will be withdrawn “in view of the fact that the draft data protection law has not been finalized”.

According to the tender document, the data to be studied will include information captured by the carrier’s various public applications such as “name, age, mobile phone number, gender, address, email id, class of travel, payment method, login or password” and other details.

IRCTC has over 10 crore users, of which 7.5 crore are active users.

The document also states that the consultant, once finalized, will receive the details of the applications and data collected for carrying out the study on “Indian Railways Digital Data Monetization”.

The consultant will study data from passenger, freight and parcel companies of Indian Railways such as PRS, NGeT, NTES, UTS, Rail Madad, FOIS, TMS, e-CRM and PMS, as well as supplier data from apps. such as IREPS, VMS and IPAS.

The document entitled “The Scope of Work for Project A: For study of Monetization of Digital Data of Indian Railways(IR)” indicates that the consultant will also have access to digital data systems that generate behavioral data such as passenger flow, the class of the trip, frequency of the trip, duration of the trip, duration of reservation, age group and gender, method of payment, number of destinations and methods of reservation.

The objective of the exercise, he said, is for the IRCTC to leverage its data assets and market position to generate strong revenue growth.

This can be achieved by improving the customer experience, expanding the product portfolio offered to customers and/or developing new lines of business and partnerships, the document states.

“IRCTC envisions the potential to generate revenue of Rs 1,000 Cr through the monetization of its digital assets. IRCTC wishes to engage a consultancy firm to assist in the identification, design, development and deployment of monetization opportunities data,” he said.

Although the railways have yet to officially respond, sources familiar with the development said the IRCTC does not “sell its data and has no intention of doing so”.

They said the consultant was engaged to advise IRCTC on steps to improve its existing business and plan strategies to monetize future businesses.

It will also focus on how the IRCTC could embrace new business opportunities.

“IRCTC will also develop new activities on its own platform and will need the help of market leaders. IRCTC does not store any financial data of its customers on its side, because at the time of online payment for its various services, the check is passed to the respective payment gateway or bank for payment,” the sources said.

The document also indicates that the consultant will study various laws or statutes, including the Computer Act 2000 and its amendments, user data privacy laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation and the current “draft Personal Data Protection Act, 2018”, and accordingly, to propose the business models for the monetization of digital assets.

The consultant would also prepare a roadmap for the monetization of digital data collected in various applications for customers and suppliers, including zonal railways, divisions and other units such as CRIS and power supplies such as IRCTC, Railtel, etc.

Listed tasks for the appointed consultant include segregating monetizable datasets, identifying market potential internationally, and preparing a roadmap for digital data monetization.

Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization that champions digital rights and freedoms, raised concerns about the tender and described its pitfalls in a series of tweets.

“Hey train travellers, your data will soon be monetized by the government. And that too, in the absence of data protection legislation! A goal of maximizing profits will mean greater incentives for data collection data, in violation of the principles of data minimization and purpose limitation.

Past experiences of misuse of the Vahan database amplify fears of mass surveillance and security risks,” he said.

“IRCTC, a government-controlled monopoly, must not prioritize perverse commercial interests over the rights and interests of citizens. And given the recent withdrawal of the Data Protection Bill, 2021, such monetization becomes even more worrying,” added the NGO.

NEW DELHI: Railways has launched a tender to hire a consultant to monetize its passenger and freight customer data with the aim of generating revenue of up to Rs 1,000 crore, but sources said it may be removed due to privacy concerns. While many social media outlets, including advocacy groups, have raised concerns about breaching data privacy issues, government sources clarified that the consultant would advise the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on the steps to take to improve its existing business and plan monetization strategies. future opportunities. Although the railways have not officially commented on the tender, senior sources have said it will be withdrawn “in view of the fact that the draft data protection law has not been finalized”. According to the tender document, the data to be studied will include information captured by the carrier’s various public applications such as “name, age, mobile phone number, gender, address, email id, class of travel, payment method, login or password” and other details. IRCTC has over 10 crore users, of which 7.5 crore are active users. The document also states that the consultant, once finalized, will receive the details of the applications and data collected for carrying out the study on “Indian Railways Digital Data Monetization”. The consultant will study data from passenger, freight and parcel companies of Indian Railways such as PRS, NGeT, NTES, UTS, Rail Madad, FOIS, TMS, e-CRM and PMS, as well as supplier data from apps. such as IREPS, VMS and IPAS. The document entitled “The Scope of Work for Project A: For study of Monetization of Digital Data of Indian Railways(IR)” indicates that the consultant will also have access to digital data systems that generate behavioral data such as passenger flow, the class of the trip, frequency of the trip, duration of the trip, duration of reservation, age group and gender, method of payment, number of destinations and methods of reservation. The objective of the exercise, he said, is for the IRCTC to leverage its data assets and market position to generate strong revenue growth. This can be achieved by improving the customer experience, expanding the product portfolio offered to customers and/or developing new lines of business and partnerships, the document states. “IRCTC envisions the potential to generate revenue of Rs 1,000 Cr through the monetization of its digital assets. IRCTC wishes to engage a consultancy firm to assist in the identification, design, development and deployment of monetization opportunities data,” he said. Although the railways have yet to officially respond, sources familiar with the development said the IRCTC does not “sell its data and has no intention of doing so”. They said the consultant was engaged to advise IRCTC on steps to improve its existing business and plan strategies to monetize future businesses. It will also focus on how the IRCTC could embrace new business opportunities. “IRCTC will also develop new activities on its own platform and will need the help of market leaders. IRCTC does not store any financial data of its customers on its side, because at the time of online payment for its various services, control is passed to the respective payment gateway or bank for payment,” the sources said. user data privacy, including the General Data Protection Regulation and the current “Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018″, and accordingly, come up with the business models for monetizing digital assets. consultant will also prepare a roadmap for the monetization of digital data collected in various applications for customers and suppliers, including zonal railways, divisions and other units such as CRIS and feeders such as IRCTC, Railtel etc. the appointed consultant includes segregating monetizable datasets, identifying market potential internationally, and preparing a roadmap for digital data monetization. Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization that champions digital rights and freedoms, raised concerns about the tender and described its pitfalls in a series of tweets. “Hey train travellers, your data will soon be monetized by the government. And that too, in the absence of data protection legislation! A goal of maximizing profits will mean greater incentives for data collection data, in violation of the principles of data minimization and purpose limitation. Past experiences of misuse of the Vahan database amplify fears of mass surveillance and security risks,” he said. . “IRCTC, a government-controlled monopoly, must not prioritize perverse commercial interests over the rights and interests of citizens. And given the recent withdrawal of the Data Protection Bill, 2021, such monetization becomes even more worrying,” added the NGO.