India Will Allow Data Mobility Only If Reciprocated: Telco Minister

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  • Prasad cautioned that the country’s data sovereignty will be ‘non-negotiable’
  • The government will take the personal data protection law to the cabinet soon, which will be followed by final approval from Parliament

India may allow data mobility outside India only if the move is reciprocated by other countries, information technology and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Friday. 

Representative image

Prasad cautioned that the country’s data sovereignty will be ‘non-negotiable’. At a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event, Prasad said that India will uphold its data sovereignty and that will not be negotiable.

According to him, India is a huge country, generating a lot of data. He acknowledged that some degree of data movement is important in a digital world, but that will be based upon reciprocity and understanding.

He said India will look at issues of data anonymity and data vulnerability, which will be areas of dispute in the future while emphasising on the importance of data security by both local and foreign agencies.

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Plan of action
The government will take the personal data protection law to the cabinet soon, which will be followed by final approval from Parliament. The draft of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018—which is based on the recommendations of the government-constituted high-level panel headed by Justice BN Srikrishna— restricts and imposes conditions on cross-border transfer of personal data, and suggests setting up of Data Protection Authority of India to prevent misuse of personal information.

Prasad said other nations are awaiting the provisions of India’s data protection law as many are not happy with the European data protection rules. 

He reiterated the government’s aim to make India a $1 trillion digital economy in the next four to five years. On India’s preparedness to deal with a US-China-like trade war, Prasad said the matter is a sensitive one and that “we must observe it closely, properly.

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