Can The Digital Economy Be Regulated?

With data flowing freely across borders, issues of privacy and security call for data regulation. Who will do it?

Updated
Tech News
2 min read

Video Editor: Ashish Maccune
Cameraperson: Shiv Kumar Maurya

The internet now reaches out to about 3.7 billion people worldwide. In India, about 34 percent of the population now has access to Internet, which is about 462 million users. In the US, the penetration is as high as 95 percent, which accounts for about 346 million users, according to data from TRPC, a Singapore-based research firm.

With increased internet access, data is being sent across borders. But this gives rise to privacy issues as was the case with the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy, calling for some sort of regulation. The question is, who will regulate the digital economy?

Joshua P Meltzer, Senior Fellow at Brookings, a think tank, has compiled a paper on the need to regulate the digital economy and understanding the importance of cross-border data flows, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, including India.

We caught up with Joshua just after he presented his paper at Brookings India and asked him about the need for regulating the digital economy in the Indian context.

Joshua says India’s digital economy will contribute $550 billion to $1 trillion in GDP by 2025, and will be responsible for adding about 1.5 million to 2 million jobs in 2018 alone. He says digitisation of the economy itself is already a $1.2 trillion opportunity.

He says over 40 percent of India’s goods and services exports consist of software services and IT-enabled services. And about 65 percent of India’s IT and IT-enabled exports are delivered cross-border and online.

In the interview, he also touches upon trade relations between China and the US and also about how many Asian countries find it easier to emulate the Chinese internet regulation model – which may not be great for global trade.

Watch this 6-minute chat for the key highlights.

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