How India is Reimagining Consent to Empower People

As governments build out identity, payment, civil registration, and other foundational layers of digital public infrastructure (DPI), civil society organizations, privacy advocates, and others are understandably raising concerns over surveillance and privacy.

While DPIs drive greater efficiency in service delivery for citizens, they also raise fears that governments will be able to track citizens’ data.

One method of balancing governments’ need for efficiency with citizens’ right to privacy and their desire to have agency over their personal data is by implementing a consent network as a foundational layer of DPI.

A well-implemented consent network will:

*Give individuals greater control over their digital data that resides with entities such as government departments, banks, mutual funds, hospitals, and doctors, thereby enabling them to approve/reject data requests, revoke access to data, and share data at a granular level.

*Shift the data economy from an organization- centric architecture to an individual-centric one.

*Enable greater efficiencies in the economy by reducing friction across transactions.

This case study aims to document early lessons from India’s efforts to implement a consent network that puts people at the center.