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Privacy Rights of a Bangalore Citizen

The BBMP has put up the property details of all the property tax payers and those who not yet paid taxes in 2008-09 on

On the one hand it is indeed a laudable initiative toward transparency and accountability. It lets each of us verify if our payment has indeed been recorded correctly in the BBMP database.

Yet, the way the reports are accessible on the site is in my opinion a violation of the privacy of property owners in Bangalore.  The information can be downloaded at the road level for each ward and area and we can download a PDF which lists every single property with the owner's name and address.

The irony is that if you have paid tax, then  more of your information  in in public domain.

The data with names and addresses, property number and size of property can be 'farmed/mined' by any one and used for marketing their services. It can also be used by cyber-savvy hoodlums, kidnappers, extortionists and  blackmailers.

Further, even for those who have apparently not paid 'tax', should this list be available to all? How correct is this information? As someone mentioned, what if the citizen had indeed paid taxes and the BBMP system did not record it correctly? That the information is "out there" as a person who has not paid taxes not affect his /her credit worthiness?

When I tried to find out if this was not a violation of my privacy, I was told that in India the right to Privacy is NOT a fundamental right. Judgements of the Supreme Court have given some definitions but these have been specific to certain cases.

Is this true? What can be done about it?



murali772's picture


Welcome to PRAJA, Sindhu. And, indeed a valid point you have made.

In fact, as I have already mentioned              


            , the entries pertaining to my property have been made incorrectly. I have used the provision made on the site for alerting them on the mistake. I have not checked if the corrections have been effected. Whatever, I can't see that as having any serious impact on a person's creditworthiness. And, the advantages to the community on the whole through equitable tax collection are far higher.

As to the question of privacy - well, how much of it there anyway, even today? Through club memberships, credit/ debit cards, and the information you fill out against various reward schemes, the entire world knows enough about you already. And, with the proposed         

unique ID

              scheme, which the new government is expected to roll out soon, whatever little privacy remained, will also go. I suppose this is the price you'll have to pay for development, whether you like it or not.

Well, when all the neta's and babu's are required to place all the info about themselves before the public, perhaps it's only fair that the 'praja' have also to follow suit. So, I atleast am not complaining.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

We are like this only?

It is ironic that personal information of the citizens can be got at the click of a button yet we have to struggle to get information from public authorities who by law are accountable to us. If its not mandatory it is not done, first the IRC and now privacy. 

Online information access is new area for bureaucracy and there are no/minimal laws on what information can be protected. At bare minimum access entitlements should be the same as it exists for paper documents.

The entire bureaucracy has created a governance structure which makes us run through RTI hoops to get information. WIth unique id hope a similar structure gets built by design which protects personal information.

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Rithesh's picture

RTO is a violator too

If i am right, the initial plan was to put up the name of defaulters who had not paid the tax on the website. In fact many organizations like Janaagraha have been advocating this concept.

The idea the was to ensure people pay up their taxes or face the humiliation of having their names displayed in the defaulters list. The defaulters list was to be put up in public spaces of the particular locality.

You could say the same about the electoral roles too. Its very easy to find a persons' name and address. But as long as these lists do not include personal information like date of birth, age, phone numbers, vehicle numbers, etc etc., these are fine.

The RTO for example is one violator, few weeks back they came up with this feature where people could SMS a vehicle's registration number to RTO to get the address of the owner. This i think is a clear violation of ones privacy. Why would anybody want this information. If there was a real need like in case of theft or hit and run cases, the police could anyways get this information through the right channels.

silkboard's picture

Excellent point sir - needs to be highlighted

The RTO thing is definitely crossing the line - why should anyone have the right to get my address from RTO database? I was simply not aware of such "service", that too SMS based.

What exactly are our privacy rights - very valid first question.

Second question is - how safe and compliant are databses used by RTO , BBMP etc? Is it being stored safely enough? Who all have access to that data?

I assume that Banks etc take steps to protect personal information. But data protection standards inside government syste,s - this is WORTH an Audit.

Is someone interested in doing this audit, as well as check on our privacy rights?

Rithesh's picture

RTO sms number

Here is the news article on RTO's SMS project -

An extract from the article -

Mr. Ashok said now anyone could obtain any information about vehicles by sending SMS to 56006.

For example, if the vehicle number was KA-02-M-2222, the message should read RTO KA-02-M-2222. Anybody could obtain details about the owner’s name, address, vehicle’s engine number and chassis number, he said.

kbsyed61's picture

Is this in operation now?


 Is this in operation now?

ushakiran's picture


 HI, Ritesh,
They planned it out abt RTO Sms. But still its unders process any moment the operation may start  (RTO Sms ).
Have a nice day .
Usha Kiran
srkulhalli's picture

This is downright dangerous

I have heard stories from girls of beign "followed" by rowdies and eve-teasers while driving or just being troubled. I am sure most people have heard these kind of stories first hand. It is more worrisome going to the police as they fear more harasement from the police than these guys, given the state of affairs as they are. I shudder to think what will happen if these guys can get access to their name and home addresses by this service. Dont think they can live in peace

I am not sure what it buys anybody.  In my view this particular service should be strongly opposed.



ushakiran's picture

Its reality - happening with few girls

Hi Suhas,
 Its nt heard its reality wht happening wth few girls. i could like to say tht girls shld be strong enough to face it . I ve some tips how can girls make use of it .

1. If guy try to follow her frm his vehicle  plz note down his vehicle number & give to nearest police station & inform the police officer .

2. Girls shld be aware abt ths shld be more care full how to handle .

3. Girls shld carry always chilli powder OR  some big pins

4.  if u r freindsr faceing tht .Plz  inform nearest police station . Whr ? How? Whn? we all can try our level best to find right solution for tht .

Yes we to make an end for tht i belive bt For tht we need unity .
thank u for think abt womans  safe .hands off suhas .

Have a nice day
Usha Kiran
silkboard's picture

So who do we go talk to in RTO?

This RTO SMS thing does seem unjustified. Can someone point out to news articles, or confirm that this thing is either live or going to be live soon?

We have GOT to stop it from becoming a reality.

kbsyed61's picture

RTO operates under State Transport Ministry!

RTO operates under state transport department with state transport minister being the head and transport secretary being the bureaucrat who is responsible for its day-today operations.

Rithesh's picture

RTO sms working partially


I tried two numbers, in one it gave the chassis details and make of the vehicle. For the other one it said "The Vehilce No is wrong". I think they are still working on it and is not fully functional.


Check my previous post - i have posted a link to the article in Hindu.


Sir fear of police harrasment is sometimes over state (i am not ruling it out though). Sometimes it is just a fear - or the cultural attitude of our society which pervents us from going to the Police station. When these thugs know for sure that the victims wont go to the police, would they be worried even if their address is easily accessible. I feel the scope of misusing this feature is more than its advantages.

ushakiran's picture


HI , Ritesh,
         Yea RTO SMS is working its kool. Coz i ve tired my vehicle number its working .
1.  Type RTO  & Vehicle Number .

2.  Then send to 56006.

3. Then  within few seconds u will get msgs stating.
4.   Vehicle Number ,

5.  Owner Name ,

6.  Engine Number.
7.  Chassi Number .

8.  Model

9. Colour of vehicle.

     RTO SMS are working . Have nice day .
Usha Kiran
ushakiran's picture


HI, I dont think it will harm anybdy otherwise . Coz it wont give u r details of u r address R contact person details . Its gives only A owner name & model & chassi & Engine number& colour of model thats all . So i dont think we need to stop it. Plz check it once in u r cell .u will feel it . Thank u. Have A Nice Day.
Usha Kiran
srkulhalli's picture

Works for me

It works. Am happy there is no address, but it would be much better if there was no name either. I dont understand why somebody in the street should be able to find my name. I still think there is great potential for misuse.

@ Ritesh

The police angle is a deviation. Why do we even want to get there ? Just adds to the trouble of day to day living. I still dont understand what does this buy us other than being "cool"


ushakiran's picture


Hi, suhas,
I dont think tht anybdy can misuse u r name . Coz  we r lucky tht thr is no Address R Cell Number, To be frank in aboard poeples can get every details once thy login the vehicle number like :
1. Names.

2. Address.

3. Cell R Landline Number.
4. Company names.

5. Email ID. Etc.
To be frank we r lucky tht nobdy can find our Address R cell number R Email. wht do u say ?

Usha Kiran
Sindhu's picture

Unique ID/ ID card scheme in UK

Some of you who were talking about the unique id scheme may be ineterested in knowing what is happening in UK.

Are there any lessons for us?

... Sindhu

silkboard's picture

no address - great to know

Thanks for clarifying on that, getting address via SMS would certainly have been an overkill. Even name - why? There must be a reason behind this SMs service that we don't know, so I will save on un-necessary criticism.

Since the info includes chassis number etc, I am guessing the idea may be to do quick check on vehicle theft, or if the number plate is fake. comment guidelines

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