Indian news website, The Wire, claimed that an auto tech-solutions company, Fast Lane Automotive Private Limited (FLA), is gaining access to the vehicle registration data of Indians through government channels.
Sitaram Yechury, the chief of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi’s government on Thursday accusing it of selling personal details of Indians to a private firm, Fast Lane Automotive Private Limited (FLA).
Yechury, in a series of tweets, attacked Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party and alleged that the “personal privacy of all Indians is up for sale!”
He also alleges that although the Modi government scrapped the bulk motor-vehicle data sharing policy because of concerns over privacy and misuse, “it sold the country’s total vehicle registration data to a private company.”
Yechury’s allegations came after news website The Wire claimed that although the federal transport ministry scrapped its bulk motor-vehicle data sharing policy in 2020, by that time, it had already sold a copy of the country’s entire vehicle registration database to FLA in 2014.
Although the deal with FLA ended in 2016, FLA continues to have commercial access to the data.
Introduced in 2019, the bulk data sharing policy allowed the federal government to sell data gathered from citizens’ vehicle registration certificates and driving licence.
The Wire claimed it got access to the information through several Right To Information (RTI) requests filed by independent data governance researcher Srinivas Kodali.
“Within a year of accessing this data, the company’s (FLA) turnover zoomed by a whopping 163 times – up from $3017 (INR 225,000) to $496,087 (INR 30.70 million). The company’s revenues continue to grow to date on the back of this database, scrutiny of its financial returns over the past five years indicates. In fact, it saw a rise of 333 times over the period under review,” The Wire further added.