Digital platforms must be responsive, accountable to concerns of sovereign nations: Ravi Shankar Prasad at G20 Meet
Digital platforms anywhere in the world need to be responsive, accountable, and sensitive to concerns of sovereign nations regarding issues like data privacy and security of citizens, Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers meet, Prasad emphasised on data-related issues and sovereign rights of countries to protect data privacy and security of citizens, according to an official release.
He noted that India will soon put in place a robust personal data protection law that will not only address the data privacy-related concerns of citizens but also ensure the availability of data for innovation and economic development.
The Minister asserted that digital platforms having presence across multiple countries must become trustworthy, safe and secure.
"The digital platforms need to be responsive, accountable, and sensitive to the concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and data privacy is concerned," the Minister said.
Prasad told the digital ministers of the G20 countries that "it is time to acknowledge that digital platforms anywhere in the world have to be responsive and accountable towards the sovereign concerns of countries including defence, privacy, and security of citizens," the release said.
During his address, Prasad shared India's digital innovations that have helped in the fight against COVID-19. He outlined initiatives like the Aarogya Setu mobile app, geo-fencing system for monitoring quarantined patients, and COVID-19 Savdhan bulk messaging systems.
In the wake of the global pandemic, the Minister strongly emphasised on the need for building a resilient global supply chain, and shared the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making India an attractive destination for investment closely integrated with global supply chains.
Prasad also highlighted how digital technology helped the Indian government in providing relief to the economically weaker sections of society during this crisis.
Using digital innovations of India like direct benefit transfers and digital payments, even the weakest in the society was provided various financial relief during the lockdown, the release said.
Pledging India's commitment to leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) for inclusive growth and development, especially in healthcare and education, Prasad underscored the need for building trustworthy AI systems that can transform the society.
Prasad also observed that digital economy must go hand-in-hand with the data economy.
"Yes, we understand the issue of data innovation, data crossflow but we also need to acknowledge sovereignty over data...who has the sovereign right over the data.
"And, we are very clear that data must belong to the sovereign nation concerned to protect also the privacy of its people, to protect the digital concerns of its people and obviously giving good occasion for innovation, enterprise, data cleaning, data refining, all have to have a proper balancing aspect," Prasad said.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta