Eminent Domain and expropriation of data - India's data regulations
Eminent domain was a doctrine devised to let the state take private land for a public purpose. Compensation was to convert this act of forcible expropriation into acquisition. In India, the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 embodied this doctrine.
This development project has banked on the state being able to take land, forests, minerals, water for purposes it identifies.
From about the mid-’80s, resistance and protest against forcible land acquisition, and against this understanding of eminent domain, led to massive changes in the law - the right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act 2013 and the Scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (recognition of forest rights) Act 2006 and the Panchayat (extension to scheduled areas) Act 1996 being among the most prominent.
It is now the turn of data. The data-fication of personal data, the planting of the notion of personal data as a public good, the commodification of data, the rendering irrelevant of consent, the idea of ‘trickle up’, are part of what is seen as necessary to let the business in data get established. Then there is the disappearing distance between voluntary and mandatory, the deliberate erasure of privacy, state support for data businesses by establishing data bases, with ubiquity and function creep as markers.