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Data of one country should not become surreptitious property of another country: Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi: IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday called for transparency in data usage and said data of a country should not be used by another country as its surreptitious property. He said a true digital world can only survive in democracy, and there is a need for more transparent system.

“The essence of digital world is transparency where on a click of button, everything is available. This system must be maintained in a robust manner. With regard to privacy, with regard to data safety and security, and proper containment of surveillance,” Prasad said while speaking at the India Global Week 2020.

He said the world needs more transparency and openness.

“Data of one country should not become surreptitious property of another country,” the minister said.

Talking about India’s data protection law in works, Prasad said the Bill is being examined by select committee of Parliament.

He said that in the proposed data protection bill, the government has maintained that personal data should only be used after the consent and only to the extent the consent is given.

The draft personal data protection bill bars storing and processing of personal data by entities without the explicit consent of an individual.

It, however, provides for exemptions for “reasonable purposes” such as “prevention and detection of any unlawful activity including fraud, whistle blowing, merger and acquisitions, network and information security, credit scoring, recovery of debt, processing of publicly available personal data, and the operation of search engines”.

The proposed legislation provides for stringent ground rules for processing of personal and sensitive information of children, while mandating the processing of ‘critical’ personal data only in India.

“Open society, democratic world need to acknowledge that fair data regime thrives, develops only in democratic ecosystem, any kind of data imperialism is plainly unacceptable to us,” Prasad said.

Talking about support for development of apps in the country, after the government blocked 59 Chinese apps, Prasad said the government has schemes to fund start-ups and there are various venture capital firms that are handholding the Indian start-up ecosystems.

“We are also supporting them through daughter funds,” Prasad said.


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