Google has agreed to store data from its digital payment service locally but has sought more time from the Indian government, PTI reported, quoting an unidentified government official. The Reserve Bank of India has given all payment system operators in India until October 15 to ensure that transaction data is stored within the country.
Google had launched its payment application Google Tez in September 2017, and now calls it Google Pay.
The official’s statement came days after Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai reportedly wrote to Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 5, advocating free flow of data across borders. Pichai argued that this would encourage global firms to contribute to India’s digital economy. Prasad and Pichai meet during the former’s visit to the Google headquarters in the United States on August 30.
“Google, during the US visit of Ravi Shankar Prasad, conveyed to him that they are ready to comply with RBI’s rules but want two months more to comply with data storage rule,” the unidentified government official said. The government is considering the request, The Times of India reported.
However, in a statement to some media outlets, a Google spokesperson maintained the stance of Pichai’s letter from September 5. The company believes that “cross-border data flows today are ubiquitous and an essential phenomenon for global economic activity and universal access to information”, the spokesperson said.
“Soaring data flows generate more economic value and hence the socio-economic impact of restricting data flows must be thoroughly considered while framing any policy,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. “There is a need to find practical and contemporary solutions to policy issues in line with global best practices. We have nothing to add at this point of time.”
A committee headed by retired Justice BN Srikrishna had proposed in a draft bill in July that all critical personal data of people in India should be processed within the country.