‘E-platforms must be sensitive to defence, privacy concerns’

Upcoming law to address data availability for development

All digital platforms need to be accountable and sensitive towards concerns related to defence and data privacy of citizens of sovereign countries, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.

The Minister, who holds the portfolio for Law and Justice, IT and Telecom, was speaking at a virtual meeting of G20 Digital Economy Ministers.

The comments follow the Indian government’s move to ban 59 Chinese applications, including TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and Cam Scanner, citing a threat to national security and sovereignty. The decision announced in June came amid border tensions between India and China in Ladakh.

“Digital platforms need to be responsive, accountable and sensitive to concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and data privacy is concerned,” the minister said.

According to an official statement, Mr. Prasad added that India was soon going to put in place a robust personal data protection law which will not only address data privacy-related concerns of citizens but also ensure availability of data for innovation and economic development. “In view of these concerns, digital platforms having presence in many countries must become trustworthy, safe and secure,” the statement added.

“We all need to acknowledge… that the digital economy must go hand in hand with the data economy because data is the important component to accelerate the digital economy. We understand the issue of data innovation, of data cross flow, but we also need to acknowledge who has the sovereignty over data. We are very clear that data must belong to the sovereign nation concerned, to protect the privacy of its people, to protect digital concerns for its people,” he said.

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