India has been tinkering with its data policies from some while now, trying to reach a final draft that suits the country with a rich display of diversity. Now, a eight person panel has finally come out with a recommended report, that proposes changes seeking to limit the hold of industry giants like Facebook, Google, Uber etc. on data produced in the country.
The report, as seen by Bloomberg, aims to lessen the effect that U.S. giants have on the market in India, singling out Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The panel thinks that these companies have enjoyed the advantages that come with being early onsetters in the market, and have thus created an ecosystem that hinders new contenders from burgeoning in the industry. Their dominance over the Indian market has “left many new entrants and start-ups being squeezed and faced with significant entry barriers.”
To tackle this problem, a new regulator is being proposed, that will oversee the sharing, monetization and privacy of information collected online. It is clear that in a capitalist society, profits are the biggest drivers, and “market forces on their own will not bring about the maximum social and economic benefits from data for the society.” Thus, a new regulator needs to be set up to ensure that antitrust rules are not broken, data requests are fulfilled when the situation demands it and to ensure that a monopoly is not set up in the market.
The country already has a law that determines the processings of personal data, that is, data that can be used to identify users, including their names, addresses, etc. However, the panel suggests that new rules should be set up, via legislation, that can be enforced upon non personal data as well, that is, data that secures anonymity. It also comprises data that was initially personal but later aggregated and made anonymous.
Tech giants have found a way to profit off of non personal data, and serve ads by building up profiles on users. The new rule, if it comes to effect, will create a new “data business” classification for those firms that collect, process, store, or otherwise manage data. It also proposed new rules that would govern the collection, analysis, sharing, distribution of gains, as well as the destruction of data.
All of this comes at a time when countries throughout the world, including China and U.K. are also reevaluating their data laws. However, Google today introduced $10 billion investments for the country, that is seeking to reduce its hold on the targeted market. How the new rules affect said investment is still up for debate.