Auto value chain data sold to pvt parties in breach of privacy
With data privacy now becoming hot button, breaches too are common place. However, when the government itself decides to wilfully use data to generate revenue, then questions of propriety are raised for this is proprietary data with the right to it and ownership of it vested with the individual.
 
With the government looking to monetise data, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had revealed in Parliament recently that the government is selling vehicle registration and driving licence data of Indians and earning money from it. It is not known whether this decision was ratified by the Law Ministry since issues of privacy are involved.
 
Replying to a query posed by Congress MP Husain Dalwa, who asked if the government has intended to sell Vahan and Sarathi database in bulk (and) if so, the estimated value for the sale, Gadkari stated that it has provided 87 private and 32 government entities access to Vahan and Sarathi database which has yielded a revenue of Rs 65 crore so far. This is peanuts for the breach involves giving access to tele marketers, leading to widespread harassment, DND (do not disturb) be damned. 
 
If you want to know why the frequency of car manufacturers, financiers and insurers tele calls is rising, then Mr Gadkari is partly to blame for it. More and more people are being inundated with phone calls on topups or loans against owned cars or purchase of upgrades and the reason behind it is that data has been made freely available to a slew of people connected to the auto industry. 
 
 
An IANS investigation has found that manufacturers Toyota Kirloskar, Tata Motors, Volkswagen India, Indo Farm Equipment manufacturer of tractors, pick n carry cranes, rotary tillers and harvestors; banks like Stan Chart, SBI, Banaskantha Mercantile Coop Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDFC Bank, Indus India Bank and Kotak Mahindra bank and vehicle financing companies like Khushbhu Auto Finance, Kanak Durga Finance, John Dere Financial Services, India Infoline Financial, Home Credit India Finance, Hinduja Leyland Finance, Hero Fin Corp, HBD Financial Services and insurers HDFC Ergo General Insurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co, Sundaram Finance, Suryoday Small Finance, Tata Capital Financial Services, Oriental General Insurance, TVS Credit Services are the bulk buyers of the data. These are some of the buyers till date and they represent virtually the entire automobile food chain. 
 
The Vahan and Sarathi ministry maintains the Centralized National Registry through the National Informatics Centre and it contains approximately 25 crore vehicle registration records and 15 crore driving licence records. For the same, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has also created "Bulk Data Sharing Policy & Procedure". 
 
In Parliament, Gadkari had added that organizations seeking bulk data could obtain it at a price of Rs 3 crore. According to him, education institutes seeking the data could obtain it for "research purposes and internal use only" for a price of Rs 5 lakh.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Railways to bring back service charges on e-tickets from 1st September
    In a setback for rail passengers, the Indian Railways has decided to restore the service charges on its e-tickets from September 1, which it had withdrawn after demonetisation to promote digital payments.
     
    A senior Railway Ministry official said the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which manages the online ticketing of the national transporter, will restore the service charges on the tickets booked from its platform.
     
    He said the railways which earlier used to levy Rs 20 for tickets for non air-conditioned coaches and Rs 40 for tickets for air-conditioned coaches as service charges, will now charge Rs 15 and Rs 30 for the non-AC and AC coaches' tickets respectively. 
     
    He said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be applicable separately on each ticket.
     
    The service charges were withdrawn in late 2016 after demonetisation to promote digital payments. 
     
    The official pointed out that after the service charges were discontinued, the IRCTC saw a drop of over 26 per cent in Internet ticketing revenue.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    Madhu K R V

    1 month ago

    Its meaning less to have Service Tax together with Goods and Services Tax (GST). May they need to revisit the GST purpose.

    Private Banks Are Using Paid Premium Numbers for Customer Service; RBI says No Guidelines Issued By It
    Consumers could find themselves badly out of pocket on calling banks on the numbers provided to raise a dispute or make an inquiry. These are special number starting with 1860 that are often mistaken for toll free numbers by ordinary people.
     
    In fact, numbers starting with 1860 are premium numbers and impose a higher charge on callers.  
     
    Several private sector lenders such as ICICI Bank, Citi Bank, Karur Vyasa Bank, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank are using premium numbers from the 1860 series (not the 1800 series, which is the toll free number) for customer queries. 
     
    While a few of these banks have been using numbers from the 1860 series, not all of them have disclosed the fact that “local charges may apply”. 
     
    In order to verify, we called the toll free number of IndusInd bank, 1860 500 5004. After calling, the phone gets connected to an interactive voice response (IVR) system where it mentions further details. However, neither the call nor the contact page of the Bank mentions the fact that local charges will be applicable. It was only after disconnecting the call that we realised balance from our mobile had been deducted as call charges.  
     
     
     
     
    Moneylife investigated this issue when a Mumbai-based techie Parag Nabar tweeted about the use of 1860 premium numbers by ICICI Bank and Citi Bank. 
     
     
    Interestingly, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not issued any guidelines or circular on use of paid premium number as customer care or helpline number, as revealed by a reply received under Right to Information (RTI) Act. This only means that RBI has tacitly allowed banks to find yet another way to extract charges from consumers, when such services are offered free to consumers in most industries.
     
    We also found that while private sector lenders are using 1860 premium paid numbers for customer care, public sector banks (PSBs) are using toll free numbers to connect with customers. 
     
    So what exactly is the difference between a premium and toll free numbers and what does the 1860 and 1800 series mean? Both these series have single 11 digit numbers that are accessible from across the country from any operator network.
     
    Numbers like 1800-xxx-xxxx are toll free which means the caller does not incur any costs. On the other hand, numbers starting with 1860 are premium numbers and the caller is charged for the call depending upon the duration. 
     
    In essence, every time someone calls a customer care number which starts with 1800, the call is free of cost. If the customer calls on a number that begins with 1860, she will have to bear either partial or full cost for the call. 
     
    Several organisations, including banks provide their unique 11 digit toll free number for customers to access from across the country. However, many a times, customers from different network operator find it difficult to connect through the toll free numbers. 
     
    Responding to Mr Nabar’s tweet, one Gauresh Mehta tried to explain why this happens. According to him, many mobile operators do not connect to 1800 toll free numbers as there are no monetary benefits in this for them.
     
     
    Our investigation further showed that several private sector lenders such as Citi Bank, Karur Vyasa Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank are using premium paid number for either customer care or as customer helpline. However Citi Bank, Karur Vaysa Bank and ICIC have mentioned that “local charges apply” on their website. 
     
     
     
     
     
    RBI’s response to our RTI query was-  “We have not issued any specific guidelines in this regard. However, you may refer to Para 16.5.1, “on Display of names of Nodal Officers” of our master circular DBR No.Leg.BC.21/09.07.006/2015-16 dated July 1 2015 on “Customer Service in Banks.”
     
    We found that the RBI circular has only asked banks to provide specific numbers to allow consumers to connect with nodal officers
     
    So the next time you are calling a bank and are in for a long wait, you may want to pay attention to the number on which you call and be aware that you are paying the charges. 
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    COMMENTS

    Godavari Joshi

    2 months ago

    Thanks MoneyLife for bringing this to our attention. The banks have found another way to 'save on their costs'. Everything is chargable to the customer while the customer has to keep a certain minimum balance to be treated as some so called to be a 'value and higher end customer'. Yes, they may inform you, but it shall be in such fine print and so much legalese and that much of it may not come to your attention or lost in understanding. Well, BUYERS BEWARE, right ?

    K.R. Nath

    2 months ago

    It is not only Banks but even many organizations which do so. Eureka Forbes asked me recently to use this number 18602661177 for their Help desk which from my Vodofone I was unable to connect. Only now I know the background. Thanks Moneylife for enlightening!

    Harish

    2 months ago

    There is only one word to describe these activities "Bhikari".

    suneel kumar gupta

    2 months ago

    Same issue is with tata sky.

    RAMANI N .V.

    2 months ago

    Thanks for bringing to the notice of Public. Thanks Money-Life.

    Ramesh Poapt

    2 months ago

    hidden loot by pirates with the blessings of the regulator?!

    paseb

    2 months ago

    This loot has been going on for years now, good you have taken up this issue and hope you bring it to its logical end.
    They even give landline nos also and getting connected to an executive takes very long. The telecom operators are no less they too charge you if you call their customer care.
    When will we see an end to this ?

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