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An opinion column that I stumbled across in the Indian Express discusses India’s growing interest in databanks, personal privacy, and the Indian Permanent Account Numbers (PANs), their analog of the American Social Security Numbers.

The column discusses how India is creating large databanks filled with personal information, but that there is little regulation of these databanks. The article also discusses how India’s “obsession … with ‘security’ ” (that’s anti-terrorism-style security, not data security) has given government security agencies an open license “to do anything from tapping telephones to intercepting mail to seeking identity and sites accessed by cyber cafe users.” The column goes on: “Sadly, the ‘intelligentsia’ is not bothered: this is, after all, ‘other people’s’ problem.’’”

It’s very interesting for me, as an American, to see how other cultures are beginning to address these issues.

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