Information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that nations need to acknowledge that digital platforms have to be accountable towards the sovereign concerns related to defence, privacy, as well as security of citizens.

“Digital platforms need to be responsive, accountable and sensitive to the concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and privacy is concerned,” Prasad said at the virtual meeting of G20 digital economy ministers.

Prasad’s statement comes weeks after the government banned 59 Chinese apps, including Bytedance’s TikTok, Alibaba’s UC Browser, among others, citing security concerns. The union electronics and information technology ministry had 29 June said that the apps were engaged in activities that are ‘prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order’. Besides, this is also the first time since the ban that India and China digital ministers were on the G20 platform.

“Digital economy must go hand in hand with data economy. We need to acknowledge the sovereignty over data. Data must belong to sovereign nation concerned, to protect also the privacy concern of its people,” he said.

Prasad further stressed upon the fact that sovereign rights of countries to protect data privacy and said that India will soon finalize a personal data protection law. The proposed law will also ensure availability of data for innovation and economic development, the minister said.

India’s draft data protection law seeks to lay down a legal framework to preserve the sanctity of “consent” in data sharing and penalize those breaching privacy norms. It is currently being discussed by a joint select committee of both the houses–Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha– after which it had to be debated in the Parliament.

In the meeting, the minister also told other nations how India used digital technology to support the economically weaker sections of society during the ongoing covid-19 crisis, an official statement said. Using digital innovations of India like direct benefit transfers and digital payments, the economically weaker sections of the society were provided financial support, including cash transfers during the nationwide lockdown.


News Source: Livemint


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