The Policy Wrap: Big Tech in data localisation row, Apple extends in-app purchase deadline, and more
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New legislation may replace Data Protection Bill
The Centre may scrap the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, which was almost five years in the making, and draft a completely new privacy Bill.
A source told Economic Times, “It would also allay concerns that current provisions may hurt the country’s fledgling technology and start-up ecosystem, which saw a record 42 unicorns being created in the last one year.”
Another source added, “clauses pertaining to a single regulator for non-personal and personal data, localisation norms apart from the structure of the data protection authority are the biggest concerns with the current draft Bill.
Impact: While it is difficult to predict whether the government will re-draft the Data Protection Bill, reports suggest that the government understands the need for wider consultation.
The Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy 2022
The Draft India Data Accessibility & Use Policy 2022 has been published for public consultations on the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) website and the last date for submission of inputs is March 18. This policy is seen as an upgrade to the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) and the Open Government Data Platform India.
The draft mentions that all government units would create detailed, searchable data inventories with clear metadata and data tags. Although the draft does not mention clearly what kind of data would be included, it could be every anonymized non-personal details the government holds of the public, such as driving licence, car or home registration, ration card details, etc.
Start-ups, enterprises, individuals, and researchers will be able to access data through licensing within the frameworks of data security and privacy, the draft states.
Salman Waris, Partner, TechLegis said: “The intention behind considering non-personal data as a community or national resource is commendable, but data monetization should not happen at the cost of individual privacy. Otherwise, it would defeat the very purpose of the personal data protection law.”
Parminder Jeet Singh, executive director of Policy for Change and member of Gopalakrishnan committee on NPD said:
“The draft policy will be a good test of governance structures around data anonymization, interoperability and sharing along with practices such as creating high value datasets given that there are hundreds of government agencies and PSUs involved. Once these models are carefully deliberated and are evolved, the government should not stop here. Between 80-90% of data of citizens is held by private companies, so the government should bring a law to enable data sharing for and between companies as well.”
A summary of the policy can be found here.
Impact: The access to data inventories could be significant to the startup ecosystem in improving their competitive standing in the market.
Big Tech in Data Localisation row
Serious differences have arisen between domestic companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd and Paytm, and global tech and media companies such as Google, Meta, Disney+Hotstar and others, on the contentious issue of data localisation in the proposed Data Protection Bill.
In a meeting of the Internet and Mobile Association of India, domestic companies favouring data localisation said that the mandate of the Joint Parliamentary Committee regarding the Bill is not strict since it has allowed two years to put the infrastructure in place.
Further, they added that some members were not taking concerns of national security seriously. Giving the example of China, these local players stated that the country has provided to be a good use case with no adverse impacts.
Countering these points, the global tech companies and other local companies said that the issue of the national security is a subject that the government has to deal with and that it is unfair to ask the private sector to do that.
Citing the research findings of organizations such as ICRIER and the CUTS International, these companies also pointed out that there is real socio-economic value in facilitating cross-border transfer flows.
Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act)
The Minister for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that India needs a new digital law as the current legislation (the IT Act) was 20 years old, while speaking at the NASSCOM Technology & Leadership Forum.
The government’s call for a new law comes as technology has changed significantly and the advent of social media has thrown up new challenges. Mr. Chandrasekhar said that it was important to make the new law “flexible and evolutionary”.
He spoke about how the government wanted to ensure that India’s startup ecosystem is not blunted due to higher compliance costs.
He mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised MeitY to have as much consultation as possible for the Data Protection Bill:
“We will continue this conversation for a little bit longer in my opinion. I don’t want to rush into something and then go back with more amendments. The world needs to get a signal that India's cyber space is safe, trusted, open and accountable and most importantly very predictable in terms of what the jurisprudence around it is.”
ASCI frames guidelines for advertising virtual digital assets
The Advertising Stands Council of India (ASCI) has released guidelines for crypto or virtual digital assets related advertisements, which will be applicable on or after April 1.
These guidelines interpret, for virtual digital assets, Chapter 1 of the ASCI code, particularly clauses 1.1, 1.4 and 1.5 that require ads to be truthful, and not mislead consumers by implication, ambiguity, exaggeration or omission, and are not framed in a way that abuses their trust or exploits their lack of knowledge.
In-app Purchases (IAP)
Apple to extend in-app purchase deadline for online groups, event apps
Apple has again extended its deadline requiring online group and event apps to comply with the company's in-app purchase policy.
As per The Verge, apps in this category can now use alternate payment options until June 30, allowing them to skirt Apple's 15-30% cut which the company takes out of in-app purchases.
Kerala Startup Mission: ‘Huddle 2022’
At the third annual 'Huddle 2022' conference run by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced a target of creating over 15,000 startups and generating two lakh jobs in the state over the next five years.
The Chief Minister also opened the first Fintech Accelerator and Finishing School in the State on the sidelines of the two-day big-ticket conclave that brings together global leaders from the startup ecosystem to strengthen networking and forging partnerships. He said that the State Government has plans to set up an emerging technology startup hub in the State capital, Trivandrum, on the lines of the facility in Kochi.
Karnataka to boost startup ecosystem
The Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM), in its effort to boost the start-up ecosystem and collaborative innovation, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering-Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park (SJCE-STEP).
The MoU aims to build a robust start-up ecosystem while underlining the need for skill development, employment generation, and overall development in the state.
With inputs from The Quantum Hub.