/Tech trade group urges India not to accept draft report on non-personal data governance

Tech trade group urges India not to accept draft report on non-personal data governance

Washington: A global tech trade association on Wednesday urged India not to accept the report by the Expert Committee on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework, noting that it has several troubling elements that will threaten foreign investments, create a hostile business environment and have a chilling effect on innovation in the country.

The government has invited public feedback on the report prepared by a committee of experts on ”non-personal data governance framework”.

An expert panel – chaired by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan – had given recommendations on the proposed rules for non-personal data framework in its report submitted to the government, in July this year.

The panel has been tasked to study various issues relating to non-personal data and to make specific suggestions for consideration of the central government on the regulation of non-personal data.

While the Personal Data Protection Bill is still in process, the panel in its report has defined non-personal data as information which is not personal as defined in the bill in the works.

In a submission, Washington-based Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) said the report has several troubling elements related to forced data sharing, data localisation and the country’s broader data policy ecosystem.

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, ITI said in a statement.

ITI said the report if accepted would threaten foreign investments in India, create a hostile business environment, and have a chilling effect on innovation in the country.

“(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 said.

ITI said the underlying premises of the report are incorrect and unsupported; forced data sharing undermines intellectual property rights; and that the report creates uncertainty and confusion around India’s data policy ecosystem.

ITI said that it is also concerned about data sharing should not be mandatory and forced data localisation serves as a barrier to trade and investment.

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