March 28, 2018
11 months

What is the issue?

  • Cambridge Analytica fiasco has highlighted the risks and challenges in safeguarding privacy and preventing data abuse.
  • Mandating big foreign tech firms to set up data centres within Indian jurisdiction and nurturing indigenous firms are some possible solutions. 

What is the current status?

  • Vulnerabilities - Recent developments with respect to “Cambridge Analytica” raise some questions on how the Government can protect data.
  • Although the Government claims data is safe, the sheer massiveness of foreign companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon or Apple is menacing.
  • Notably, the above 4 are the main firms driving big-data technologies in the country and globally and are almost omnipotent in all gadgets.
  • Government Response - So far, India has shown no signs of doing anything to control them and the data protection law is still in its nascence.
  • Past experiences haven’t been positive either, and even protocols issues to government departments regarding cyber security are not complied with.
  • Notably, government departments were asked to not use Gmail for official purposes, and ‘.nic.in’ was promoted instead, but compliance has been tardy.

What is the way ahead?

  • Data Centres - If Indian data doesn’t remain within India’s borders, it can’t be subject to Indian laws, which makes regulating them really tough.
  • Data breaches will only expand in future and India is expected to be the centre of expansion for tech giants due its youthful population.
  • Due to these transgressions, government should ask these tech giants to set up their data centres in India, which won’t be a big investment for them.
  • Despite the minimal taxes that these firms would face, they’ve refused to set up data centres sighting trivial problems like electricity and land acquisition.
  • Indigenisation - The Government has also been talking about creating big home grown tech firms, but it’s been years now.
  • Notably, China has been successful in this domain with firms like “WeChat and Baidu”, to counter international tech giants.
  • We must back big India-owned e-commerce and mobility players to fight the Amazons and Ubers of the world.


Source: Business Line


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