Mukesh Ambani urges Modi to take steps against data colonisation by global corporations

Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani

Flagging concerns about increasing data colonisation by global corporations, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Friday urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take steps against the way some global corporations are ‘colonising data’ of Indian users in the rapidly growing digital economy in the country. He also asserted that Indian data must be owned by Indians.

Addressing Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, Mr. Ambani said "data is a new oil and new wealth" and therefore must be "controlled and owned by indian people — and not by corporates, especially global corporations."

Invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against political colonisation during India's freedom struggle, Mr. Ambani said “Gandhi ji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation.”

“For India to succeed in this data driver revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India — in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian,” he said.

Calling the Prime Minister as "man of action," Mr. Ambani urged him to make the movement against data colonisation as one of the principal goals of Digital India mission.

This is second time in a month, the richest man of Asia, Mr. Ambani has thrown his wieght behind a growing demand from the authorities and a section of local corporates seeking companies to store data of Indian consumers locally.

Last month, Mr. Ambani had said data of an individual or business belongs to them and not to corporates who could use it to monetise from them.

It may be noted that the Indian government wants companies doing business in India to store all customer data locally, a demand some global corporations are not inclined to comply with.

Besides the central government, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April 2018 ordered companies to store the "the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them... in a system only in India" so as to ensure "unfettered supervisory access" for "better monitoring." Global internet giant such as Google had complained about the six-month deadline. 

The union government has been considering a draft data-security law that requires data centres for all companies be physically located within India to store data of Indian consumers.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 5:56:11 pm |