Data Privacy On Govt Radar, Finally

New Delhi | Updated: Mar 22 2004, 05:30am hrs
This could well be Indias answer to the disparaging remarks by US and European companies reg-arding the lack of data protection measures in the country. National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nass-com) is working with the department of information technology (DIT) to draft the final form of the Data Protection Act.

The duo, along with lawyers, are also discussing whether to introduce the data protection measure as an executive order or a legislation. The data protection measure will provide legal safeguards and ensure that data is not accessible to third parties or unauthorised persons under any circumstances.

Concerns raised over the absence of concrete data protection measures in India have dealt a blow to the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in particular and the IT industry in general. If it takes the form of an executive order then India could have a data protection ordinance in some months and if it is a legislation then it should take at least a year before it is implemented, Nasscom president Kiran Karnik told eFE.

Industry experts say the US or even Europe could take undue advantage of the fact that no data protection legislation exists in India and as a result could raise questions on the sanctity of data

This can encourage the US to stop outsourcing critical data-related processes to India. India really needs a strong data protection Act but more than that we need strict implementation of the Act, ExlService Inc CEO Vikram Talwar said.

In the past too, some BPO companies have faced some form of resistance or other from the US and Europe due to the absence of any data protection measures in the country, vCustomer head of global operations Sujit Bakshi added.

The US already has the Safe Harbour Act for the protection of data. The threat to data lies in the processes like health and financial services.

In absence of any data protection measure in the country, most of our customers do not allow data to reside in our systems. We actually can not download any of the data of these companies, Epicentre vice-president K Vijay Rao said.

Epicentre is a Mumbai-based BPO company with some call centre operations.