Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani: India needs a policy on data

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Published: July 22, 2017 11:22:08 PM

Former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani said that India needed a data protection law "as soon as possible" as it is a "fundamental thing" so that the users can demand from the domestic or foreign companies to share their data when needed.

Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani, Infosys, UIDAI, technology problem, policy problem, Mukul Rohatgi, unique digital infrastructure, data protection policy, data protection law, India needsdata protection law, Delhi Economics ConclaveFormer UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani. (Image: Facebook)

Former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani on Saturday said that India needed a data protection law “as soon as possible” as it is a “fundamental thing” so that the users can demand from the domestic or foreign companies to share their data when needed. “This is not a technology problem, but a policy problem,” Nilekani said here at the Delhi Economics Conclave 2017. Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said earlier that the government was planning to come out with a data protection policy this year. The need for the law was felt after online messaging service WhatsApp changed its policy of non-sharing of data for its users after acquisition by Facebook in 2016 to permit sharing of the attributes of its users for advertisement targeting.

Speaking at the different session former chairman of UIDAI Nandan Nilekani said data is the oil of the 21st century. Noting that data created huge businesses and data companies have unique scale advantages, Nilekani said, “India needs a policy on data.” He also stressed that the government should make law to give people control of their own data. “India will go from data poor to data rich in the next three years. India has a unique digital infrastructure,” PTI quoted Nilekani as saying.

On Friday, describing data as the “new oil”, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani today said India has a chance to build a completely new paradigm as he made a strong pitch for democratising data so that it is available to everybody and not just a few organisations. “Data has become the new oil. Just like oil was the basis for transformation of the 20th century, data is the basis for 21st century.

“But it is very important that if data is the new oil, then data is democratised (and) that data is available to everybody to use,” Nilekani said in his address at the 54th convocation of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M).

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