Will NPCI indulge in Data Laundering like CIBIL?

Naavi.org had earlier pointed out how CIBIL which was once owned by Indian Banks was quietly transferred to a foreign company for undisclosed consideration by a number of Indian public sector Banks in a concerted move.

In the process, more than 500 million sensitive personal data sets of Indian Citizens was acquired by the foreign company along with the revenue benefits flowing out of the profits.

See the details here:
CBI Enquiry is required for finding the truth behind TransUnion taking over CIBIL
Is TransUnion-CIBIL guilty of Accessing Critical Personal Data through surreptitious means?
Data Laundering ..is it covered under PDPA?

Now there is a report that NPCI is all set to sell its equity to 131  companies including Banks, PSOs, etc in what is said to be an attempt to create “Distributed Ownership”

According to the report, invited companies include the likes of JP Morgan Chase, DMRC, Western Union, Airtel, Jio, Paytm, Bank of America, etc.

It may be noted that presently NPCI is owned to the extent of 82% by 12 domestic Banks while the remaining is held by 40 smaller Banks and select cooperative, rural and foreign banks.

At present it is stated that only 4.6% of equity would be diluted for about 1800 crores. However, we cannot forget that CIBIL similarly started  a dilution program which eventually meant that the company which was owned by the Indian Banks later went into the control of Trans Union completely.

We should remember that the NPCI also holds highly valuable sensitive personal data which is infact “Critical” since the UPI IDS are unique and link to the financial assets of millions of Indians. An attack on NPCI will debilitate the country to the extent that it would be of interest to the national enemies engaged in cyber terrorism and cyber war.

What may start as a 4.6% dilution at Rs 1800 crores may firstly be valued much more than Rs 1800 crores and secondly, it may not stop at 4.6% and go to much higher. In the case of CIBIL, the dilution started at 10% and reached 92%. Similarly NPCI may soon be sold out completely to the foreign hands.

I call upon the Finance Ministry to withdraw this proposal forthwith as it will not be possible to guarantee that NPCI will not be sold off to foreign interests just as CIBIL was sold in a scam.

This sort of dilution is may be considered “Data Laundering” and the forthcoming PDPA has to question such ownership transfer of companies with critical personal data since it is a   data sovereignty issue.


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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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