India has proposed to regulate cross-border data flows, setting up computing facilities within India to ensure job creation and a dedicated “data authority” in the draft National e-Commerce Policy, reported The Economic Times on Sunday.
“The data of a country is best thought of a collective resource, a national asset, that the government holds in trust, but rights to which can be permitted,” the draft policy said. “The analogy of a mine of natural resource or spectrum works here.”
The draft policy document was released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and is open for public comments till March 9, reported The Indian Express.
The 42-page draft addressed six issues of the e-commerce ecosystem – data, infrastructure development, e-commerce marketplaces, regulatory issues, stimulating domestic digital economy and export promotion through e-commerce.
The draft suggests that a legal and technological framework will be applicable to data collected from devices installed in public space, and data generated by users in India from various sources, including e-commerce platforms, social media, and internet search engines among others.
The draft policy bars “sensitive” data collected and processed in India and stored abroad from being shared with foreign governments and other business entities outside the country. The policy has suggested a three-year period for companies to set up data storage in India and advocated a review of the practice of not imposing custom duties on electronic transmissions.
According to the policy, Indian authorities will have to be given immediate access to data stored abroad.
The draft policy suggested a “data authority” to oversee the process of sharing community data. The draft policy said economic activity is likely to follow data in the future. “It is hence vital that we retain control of data to ensure job creation within India,” it said.
The draft has suggested retaining policy space to seek disclosure of source code for facilitating transfer of technology and development of applications for local needs as well as for security. “Policy space to grant preferential treatment of digital products created within India must also be retained,” it said.
It also suggested that all product shipments from other countries be channelised through the customs route and the development of an integrated system that connects customs, Reserve Bank of India and India Post to track imports.