Amazon arm backs data localisation

The government has the right to ask that sensitive data be stored locally, a senior official of Amazon Web Services (AWS) has said. The statement comes amid opposition from experts and foreign firms over proposed data localisation norms in India.

“Governments have a right to request the data that is sensitive be stored in their own country so they can apply their own rules to that data,” Peter Moore, regional managing director, Amazon Web Services, global public sector - APAC and Japan, told The Hindu.

The reason why the company had invested in data centres in India was “so that we can assure the government that all the data that they have stays in the country, we can give them that assurance,” Mr. Moore added.

The policy

The draft ‘The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018’ proposes that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed only in data centres located within the country, while personal data may be transferred outside India.

However, at least one copy of the data will need to be stored in India. The proposal has been termed as “regressive” and a “trade barrier” by experts.

Data accessibility

“We provide our customers with the access to tools so that they can determine where the data is located, they can monitor that to ensure that it does not move…it is all about data security, it comes down to whether you can be assured that if you host data in a particular location, that’s going to stay secure and people don’t have access [and] who shouldn’t have access to it,” Mr. Moore said.

AWS, which sees huge opportunity in India in the public sector owing to the size of the market, is working on using open data sets and applying machine learning to bring up new insights.

“We think that is going to be very helpful and relevant to Indian market,” Mr. Moore noted.

“…I see a lot of opportunity in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to be made available for when it is needed, to be able to provide access to large computing capabilities that allow you to have very fast speed to solutions when it comes to disasters, or tracking lost children or any of these issues,” he added.

Historically, he pointed out, people used data sets for things such as mapping. However, now voice, video and pictures were emerging as the other data sets from which intelligent insight could be obtained, Mr. Moore said.

“So that’s an important area. We see that there are cases where people who commit a crime maybe they’re photographed, and it takes a long time to pull up a proper mugshot of these individuals. So using Amazon Rekognition, which is an image recognition service, you can very quickly do face matching. It is also used for finding lost children or exploited children.”

In India, an application called ReUnite uses Amazon Rekognition to find lost children.

Mr. Moore further added that the company is seeing an increase in government spend on technology, but believes that skilling is a challenge in the public sector as well.

“Without a real understanding of the benefits of cloud, how will you know you can take advantage of cloud without investing large amounts of money upfront, how you are only required to pay for what you use. All these are basic benefits of cloud that people who make the decisions in the government should understand.”

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 8:42:43 PM |

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