Source: ET Bureau
Top executives from the telecom industry, at a panel discussion on the second day of the India Mobile Congress 2019 on Tuesday backed user privacy in the 21st century when storage of data and the way it is used is of paramount importance.
Facebook India has called for clarity over data rules that it said would greatly benefit the industry, while Reliance Jio Infocomm stressed that all sensitive data should be available locally and have local control, irrespective of where it is stored, given that the security of individuals and the country was paramount.
Bharti Airtel India chief executive Gopal Vittal, on his part, said Indian mobile phone operators have loads of data on them, but were not into the business of leveraging user data and earn revenue only from subscriptions. He underlined the need to have explicit user consent before anyone could use user data, as well as the need to protect user privacy.
“I’m a big believer that all appropriate, sensitive data should be locally available because we live in a data world and we live in a world where security of the nation, security of the industry and security of the economy and the security of the citizens are paramount, because when you go all digital, we have to have an appropriate control on the data,” Jio president (networks) Mathew Oommen said.
The top executives’ comments, at a panel discussion on the second day of the India Mobile Congress 2019 on Tuesday, come at a time when the Indian government is firming up not just individual data privacy laws but also laws on how companies and organisations treat non-personal data. The draft personal data protection law proposes that companies store all “critical” data within India, a suggestion opposed by overseas companies.
Vittal said telecom operators held a huge repository of data, ranging from call details to Internet browsing information, and thus privacy of that information was of “paramount importance”.
Facebook India head Ajit Mohan said the US-based social media company over the last couple of years had transformed itself, and embraced privacy that was actually influencing new product launches.
Prakash Mallya, Intel India’s vice president, underlined the importance of data privacy and security as the country was preparing for 5G technology and Internet of Things.