India considers new legislation to force big tech companies to sell their data


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India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is now considering to pass a set of revolutionary guidelines that will now make it easy for companies to sell customer data to both private and government organizations within the country. If the aforementioned guideline is passed, it will become mandatory for tech companies to sell public and non-personal data to any entity needed.

According to the guidelines under consideration, data such as traffic, purchasing patterns and illness patterns can be shared and traded amongst companies. With this new guideline coming under the country’s Information Technology Act, it is said that the final call on implementing it will only be taken after an exhaustive process.

According to a senior Indian official, big tech companies are considered the pioneers of data warehousing and in such a case, the country’s MeitY feels that the tech companies have the right to charge for the data they collect.

“…these big tech companies certainly were the first ones to come up with the idea and do the work, so just like in critical medicines, they should have the right to charge an economic fee for sharing it,” said a senior official, as reported by the ET.

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This new guideline will also ensure the fact that there will be greater scope for competition as all players, either big or small will have access to the customer data. With regard to how a mammoth like Google is the only option for data and information hoarding, the senior official said, “We want to correct this information asymmetry to ensure that there is healthy competition. Right now, the winner takes it all.”

While the tech superpowers such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Apple and Tencent control a major share of the information and data market by value, smaller nations such as India struggle to control the tech monopolies and facilitate fair competition.

These changes and proposals have taken shape due to the increasing pressure and concern from several ministries, government officials and other stakeholders in India wanting to address public data as a major priority.

“There is an increasing consensus within various ministries that both public data guidelines and the private data legislation must go hand in hand rather than wait for the latter to first become law,” said an official.

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]