Non Personal data faces pushback from US giants

Vaishali Singh

Government’s plan to regulate “non-personal” data has jolted US tech giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google, and a group representing them is preparing to push back against the proposals, according to sources and a letter seen by Reuters. A government-appointed panel in July recommended setting up a regulator for information that is anonymised or devoid of personal details but critical for companies to build their businesses.

The panel proposed a mechanism for firms to share data with other entities – even competitors – saying this would spur the digital ecosystem. The report, if adopted by the government, will form the basis of a new law to regulate such data.

But the US-India Business Council (USIBC), part of the US Chamber of Commerce, calls imposed data sharing “anathema” to promoting competition and says this undermines investments made by companies to process and collect such information, according to a draft letter for the government.

“USIBC and the US Chamber of Commerce are categorically opposed to mandates that require the sharing of proprietary data,” says the USIBC’s previously unreported letter, which is likely to be completed and submitted in coming weeks to India’s information-technology ministry.

“It will also be tantamount to confiscation of investors’ assets and undermine intellectual property protections.”

A USIBC spokeswoman had no comment on the draft letter. The US Chamber of Commerce didn’t respond to Reuters queries.

The head of the panel, Kris Gopalakrishnan, a founder of technology giant Infosys, said the group will work with the government to review input from the industry.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet’s Google  did not respond to requests for comment. The report is open for public comments until September 13.