Govt-appointed experts' panel suggests regulating data, checking monopolies

While the government is working on the protection of personal data, MeitY has also started a process to prepare a framework for non-personal data.
An experts' committee set up by the government under the chairmanship of Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has highlighted the need to regulate data, and expressed alarm at the imbalance being created by dominant internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.

A report submitted by the panel to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MietY) said that not only economic, but also most critical social, political and cultural activities will depend upon data, and allowing data monopolies in a large consumer market like India could lead to the creation of imbalances in bargaining power.

"This may be the right time to set out rules to regulate the data ecosystem (which includes data collection, analysis, sharing, distribution of gains, and destruction) to provide certainty for existing businesses and provide incentives for new business creation, as well as to release enormous untapped social and public value from data." the report on non-personal data governance said.

The government has invited feedback from public on the report submitted by the committee to fine-tune the suggestions of the panel for non-personal data governance.

"It is reported that Google and Facebook together control about 60 per cent of the internet advertising market in the US. It is also estimated that Amazon had a 37 per cent share of the online e-commerce market in the US in 2019. This is reflected in the very large market capitalisation of these corporations," the report said.

While the government is working on the protection of personal data, MeitY has also started a process to prepare a framework for non-personal data.

According to the Gopalakrishnan panel, organisations have been discovering ways to generate value from data and the digital economy is witnessing the emergence of a few dominant players and a certain imbalance in the market.

"A combination of a 'first mover advantage' for these large data-driven platforms and businesses, with the sizable network effect and enormous data that they have collected over the years, has left many new entrants and start-ups being squeezed and faced with significant entry barriers," the report said.

The panel has favoured the case to regulate data for creating certainty and incentives for innovation and new products and services creation in India, encourage start-ups in India and address privacy concerns, among others.



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