Health id needn’t cause any anxiety over data policy

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Synopsis: While there is a need to adopt the digital solution, at the same time it is also important to protect the data of people.


Recently the government announced setting up a new digital health scheme with a digital Id. This again raises the issue of privacy, as was done by the Aadhaar issue earlier.

Read more: Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission – Explained, pointwise
What are the issues raised by health ID?

When the services were being provided physically, people did not complain about providing identity proof. But when the same is demanded digitally, people begin to raise issues.

This is because the digital health scheme raises apprehension that the new Health ID would result in health data being aggregated into large, centralized databases. This would make this intimate information prone to cyber-attacks. The issue is further complicated when there are issues of digital data breaches like the recent Aadhar issue.

How to solve the challenges in digital health ID?

Once the identity of beneficiaries has been established, their data should be hidden in such a way it would be difficult to use the same data for other transactional information. The data should also be encrypted so that in case of a data breach, the privacy of beneficiaries will not be impacted.

In case of beneficiaries availing of more than one public service, data should be cross verified in a privacy-preserving manner without actually exposing any core identity information.

There is a need to incentivize the use of privacy-enhancing digital identity solutions. Different methods should be adopted depending on the requirement. For Eg, one can generate tokens that serve as a proxy for identity while others can separate data flow from identity flow.

Source: This post is based on the article “Health id needn’t cause any anxiety over data policy published in Livemint on 20th October 2021.

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