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Data Localisation Could Hinder India’s Digital Growth: Google CEO

Google CEO Sundar Pichai met RS Prasad at Google HQ earlier this month.

Published
Tech News
2 min read
Sundar Pichai at the Google Digital Unlocked event in Delhi. 
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Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has written to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad advocating free flow of data across borders as such a step will encourage global companies to contribute to India's digital economy.

In a letter dated 5 September, Pichai said Google shares the vision of creating a truly 'Digital India' and that the company remains firmly committed to being part of India's growth story. He also thanked Prasad for his visit to Google's Mountain View campus last month.

His statement clearly suggests that Google isn’t in favour of localising its data centre for the Indian market, something that has been reiterated by multiple global brands across different sectors.

He further said the company's team in India will be in touch with his office to follow up on some of the specific topics that were discussed during their meeting.

Earlier this month, the government reiterated its firm stand on data privacy and against online platforms abusing data to impact free choice in India.

The Minister had emphasised the need for a balance among data availability, and its utility, innovation, anonymity and privacy.

Free flow of data across borders – with a focus on user privacy and security – will encourage startups to innovate and expand globally and encourage global companies to contribute to India’s digital economy.
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

The development comes at a time when the government is working on a data protection framework for the country. In July, a high-level panel headed by Justice B N Srikrishna had submitted its recommendations and the draft bill on data protection to Prasad.

The draft suggests that every data fiduciary in India shall ensure the storage of at least one serving copy of personal data on a server or data centre located in India. The government can notify certain categories of personal data as critical personal data that would have to be stored in a data centre located within India.

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