WASHINGTON / NEW DELHI – Today, global tech trade association ITI submitted comments to the Government of India on the Report by the Expert Committee on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework. ITI’s comments express concern with the underlying premise of the report as well as a number of troubling elements in it, including those relating to forced data sharing, data localization, and India’s broader data policy ecosystem.
ITI strongly recommends that the Government of India not endorse the Report, as it would threaten foreign investments in India, create a hostile business environment, and have a chilling effect on innovation in the country. If adopted by the Government of India, the recommendations in the report would have a significant, negative impact on most if not all companies that do business in India, including through mandatory sharing of proprietary data sets with competitors and the government.
“[Data] collection and use are not the exclusive province of a select group of firms, but in fact are increasingly critical to every globally competitive company,” ITI wrote in its comments. “Sectors ranging from manufacturing, to agriculture, to logistics leverage disparate data sets to drive innovations in new products, services, and processes. The legal framework proposed by the Report would impact every major player operating in the Indian economy – as well as their partners – in a manner that undermines the stated objectives of the Report.”
ITI’s key concerns with the Expert Committee’s Report are:
- The underlying premises of the Report are incorrect and unsupported;
- Forced data sharing undermines intellectual property rights;
- The Report creates uncertainty and confusion around India’s data policy ecosystem;
- Data sharing should not be mandatory; and
- Forced data localization serves as a barrier to trade and investment.
On July 12, 2020, the Indian Expert Committee, which was established by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to deliberate on a Non-Personal Data (NPD) Governance Framework, released its Report for consultation. The Expert Committee, which consists of representatives of the Indian business community, civil society, and government, will present its Report to the Government of India for endorsement and subsequent use as a basis for legislation or regulation. ITI remains committed to engaging with the Expert Committee and with the Government of India in order to ensure a robust data innovation ecosystem in the country.