India could oblige e-commerce, social media firms to store data locally
India is reportedly considering asking e-commerce and social media firms to exclusively store customer data locally, in a move that could affect global giants that operate in the country such as Amazon, Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp.
A story, published by Reuters today (30 July 2018) quoted from a Draft National Policy Framework document which says the government is also thinking of tightening scrutiny of mergers in the e-commerce sector so that even small deals that potentially distort competition are compulsorily examined by the country’s anti-trust regulator.
Reuters notes that the Indian e-commerce landscape is currently dominated by Flipkart that is in the process of being bought by U.S. retail giant Walmart.
Other major e-commerce players are Amazon.com Inc’s local unit and Snapdeal, backed by Japan’s SoftBank.
As the space becomes busier, the government, according to the draft policy, will take steps to incentivise and develop capacity to store data of Indian customers locally.
“Data generated by users in India from various sources including e-commerce platforms, social media, search engines etc,” would have to be stored exclusively in India, the draft said, adding that the e-commerce industry could be given time to “adjust before localization becomes mandatory”.
It also said the government “would have access to data stored in India for national security and public policy objectives subject to rules related to privacy, consent etc”.
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