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The Laughing Stock - Data Privacy

Data privacy is considered as one of the most important of personal freedom in many countries around the world but definitely not in India. It is "one laughing stock". No doubt, we have umpteen instances of our data being freely circulated, pilfered and sold for a price in India. I receive at least 50 SMS messages in a month telling me that "1.5 cr chennai phone database (confirmed) is available for sale at Rs2500/-". So there goes my data privacy with regard to my telephone number.

My phone number is with all the tele-marketers in India, I guess. Not only from Chennai, I get calls from Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Delhi. No I am not joking! I have got calls from Ahmedabad for stock tips, from Nagpur for real estate etc., I dont know who told these guys I want to buy land in Nagpur, of all places! The only saving grace, I was hoping was that at least my residential address and family details are not yet available in the public domain.

It went for a toss last week when we received a post from one of the Chennai based Charitable organisation helping deprived people. The letter was addressed to myself and my wife with full names and initials. The biggest surprise was it had the name of our second son (again full name) with his birth date and asking us to visit their facility on his birthday. It is a very emotional thing for somebody to receive a request for charity with the details of your child and you really feel carried away to contribute. I don't find anything wrong in seeking charity but what really irked me was the blatant mis-use of birth information, parents' name and address by this Charitable organisation.

I was wondering from where they would have got this minute and detailed information, the one and only source was the birth records in the Chennai Corporation office. Not that we are from the Bachchans family not wanting to disclose even the name of the new born, but using these kind of informatin for seeking charity is not to be encouraged. This breach of personal data can be sued in many countries but may not be possible in India.

To my surprise and utter dismay, I found the name of the Chennai Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy as one of the patrons of this trust along with The Hindu N Ram. Long live Data Privacy in India!!

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