Pichai for free flow of data, writes to Centre

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 09, 2018

Google CEO Sundar Pichai   -  REUTERS

Google CEO joins other tech firms in opposing provisions of privacy legislation

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has written to Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that free flow of data across borders will encourage start-ups to innovate.

“Free flow of data across borders — with a focus on user privacy and security — will encourage start-ups to innovate and expand globally and encourage global companies to contribute to India’s digital economy,” Pichai said in a ‘thank you’ letter to the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, who had visited Google’s headquarters in California recently. BusinessLine has seen the letter.

Pichai’s demand is not that of Google alone, but of most tech companies worldwide, as restricting data within a country would mean lesser revenues.

The proposed Personal Data Protection Bill 2018, which talks about locating a server or a data centre in India, is being criticised by companies and industry bodies such as Nasscom and its Data Security Council, as also the Broadband India Forum. Companies such as Google will be affected as most of its revenues comes from advertisements globally.

“We are not in favour of that (data remaining within the country) as it would also mean our companies being restricted from doing businesses in other countries (mainly US and Europe) because we are export-oriented companies,” a senior Nasscom representative had said recently.

Some global companies have called for the Bill to be consistent with international best-practices and resemble the APEC CBPR (Cross Border Privacy rules) and (OECD) Privacy Frameworks, adapted suitably to an India context, that offers a baseline level of privacy protection to all data subjects.

During his visit to the US, Prasad had raised concerns over individual privacy, but said it cannot prohibit innovation nor could it become the shield for the corrupt or terrorists.

Published on September 09, 2018

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