In a significant move to revamp data compliance regulations for Big Tech, India’s lower house of parliament approved the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 on August 7. This legislation aims to ease data compliance restrictions for global tech giants such as Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Microsoft, as well as local businesses, in their operations about storing, processing, and transferring personal data.
The new bill grants companies legal permission to export data collected within India, albeit with certain exceptions. Notably, large tech corporations must now obtain government approval before acquiring customer data and are strictly forbidden from using this data for purposes beyond the scope of the agreed-upon contracts, which include selling personal information for AI training.
However, before the bill can officially ease compliance requirements for businesses, it must undergo approval by the upper chamber of parliament, signifying an ongoing process to refine and solidify the legislation.
With the world’s largest population and rapidly expanding internet user base, India is positioning itself to address the growing concerns surrounding data collection and usage practices of AI products, which have come under increasing scrutiny globally.
Authorities worldwide increasingly focus on potentially exploiting personal data by digital businesses and other entities within the ever-evolving digital sector. Such concerns have arisen alongside the widespread availability and usage of AI products, which have become pervasive daily.
Interestingly, reports indicate that India is collaborating with United States President Joe Biden’s administration to develop a unified worldwide standard for artificial intelligence. This partnership signals a strong intent to establish a comprehensive and coherent framework to govern AI practices across borders.
The bill’s passage and the government’s collaborative efforts with the US administration demonstrate India’s commitment to establishing robust data protection measures while facilitating a conducive environment for local businesses and global tech giants to operate. Consequently, the legislation is pivotal in shaping India’s digital future and influencing global data governance and AI ethics discussions.