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Why And How Of Personal Data Protection

Here are a few simple steps which can greatly reduce the possibility of data misuse.

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With the recent Cabinet nod, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 is going to be a reality sooner rather than later. Amid the various chords, that the Data Protection Bill attempts to strike, the bill addresses the critical issue of Data theft to ensure personal data security. This bill aims to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal data and governs the relationship between individuals and entities processing their personal data. 

But before the bill becomes an act, lets first understand why data protection is so important for you?

With the advent of the digital revolution in the 21st century, the volume of digital transactions has increased at an exponential rate. Deeper penetration of smartphones and the internet, availability of low-cost data, better financial inclusion, improved digital and economic literacy could be a few driving factors behind the unprecedented digital growth in India.

Now you can do many activities such as open a bank account, get a credit card, apply for a loan, make online payments, get some insurance product, invest in mutual funds or even get foreign currency exchange online just by using your phone. While all this has certainly eased out the life of a common man, it is equally important to not to forget the risks associated with it.

The reality of the digital environment is that almost every single digital activity done by an individual involves some sort of data transaction or exchange. While we all reap the benefits of the modern age “Digital India”, data privacy and protection has become vital so much so that the honourable Supreme Court of India recognized Right to Privacy as a fundamental right.   

Theoretically speaking, any information or data that you store digitally is prone to the risk of data theft and misuse. However, assuming that the personal data stored on your digital device has been adequately protected, it surely becomes risky once you voluntarily share it with other platforms for example for KYC. Once your data has been shared with a third party, you actually don’t know a thing about what’s going to happen with it. 

As per a report by Securitas reveals that every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft which accounts for 77% of the fraud cases in India. An analysis by PWC also reports a steep rise in the number of cases of Identity theft and violation of know your customer norms.  Pan Card misuse is a real cause of concern looking at the number of places where we leave our PAN numbers without thinking twice.  There were multiple cases reported where fraudsters were found to be using credit cards issued by misappropriating someone else’s KYC documents. In cases of physical KYC documents also, there's a risk of leaving a copy of your PAN card, or passport with a jeweller or a money changer, etc. that can be misused. These simple stats should be enough to emphasize the significance of data protection and preventing it from any type of misuse. 

Simple Tips to Protect Your Personal Data

You don’t need to be a digital expert to protect your personal data. Here are a few simple steps which can greatly reduce the possibility of data misuse.

  • First and foremost, it is most important to secure the digital devices on which you have stored your data. You can install security software such as an anti-virus or anti-spyware software, avoid clicking on phishing emails, using strong passwords and be cautious while using open wi-fi networks. 

  • Share your personal data say for KYC, only with well-known and reputed institutions/organizations in the market. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. 

  • Ensure that you are absolutely certain about where and why you are submitting your documents, especially important documents like PAN Card. Write a date on your documents and always prefer organizations that water-mark your documents with the purpose. Watermarking ensures that your documents are put to use only for the defined purpose.

  • Additionally, you should also click a picture of the documents being submitted with the date for future reference.

  • Never share your data on-call or on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram etc.

  • Never make your personal details like date of birth and place of birth public. Make sure you don’t share these with others apart from your immediate family. Don’t put them on social media either.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sudarshan Motwani

Sudarshan Motwani is the founder and CEO of BookMyForex. Widely regarded as a pioneer in the foreign exchange space in India, he has introduced several new products and delivery channel innovations throughout his illustrious banking career of over 30 years. At BookMyForex, Sudarshan focusses on simplifying and bringing maximum transparency in the retail forex and remittance space. He is deeply committed to offering the best value and the highest degree of convenience to customers through his venture.

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