This post draws attention to the critical issue of privacy and data protection regulations, the need to share best practices among regulators and the international harmonisation of rules.
New technologies like OTTs, IoT, Artificial intelligence etc., are already and will continue to improve our lives. However, they also entail collecting vast amounts of data about us. There is a need to balance the benefits of big data and the threat to the right to privacy, an integral human right.
This is not just an important issue for individuals and governments; it is also critical for businesses as they rely on continued consumer demand. In the absence of adequate protection of their rights to privacy and control over their personal data, in the absence of consumer trust, consumers will cease to subscribe to even the most innovative or useful applications.
This would not only adversely affect the digital communications industry. It would also be tragic from the viewpoint of continued innovation and the scaling up and sustained growth of new technologies and applications. Such a scenario would deprive the world of the benefits.
India is in the process of framing its laws on the subject of privacy and data protection. It is felt that especially developing countries could benefit from mutual learning and experience sharing.
Further, it is important for industry, regulators and academia to come together to achieve the stated objectives of data protection, privacy, competition and security to ensure inter alia the continued growth of digital services to benefit all stakeholders.
Developing an appropriate regulatory framework that will act as the foundation for good business practices and adequate consumer safeguards in the field of ICTs requires collaboration and international cooperation. The global harmonisation of these rules is necessary to protect competition and innovation and allow data to be used fairly for innovation and growth in a competitive manner, preventing monopolisation by a few entities. This requires consensus building on data portability and localisation rules.