Carnegie India, in partnership with ThePrint, is curating a series of op-eds that examine various aspects of Geopolitics of Technology, ranging from cross border data access and data protection to vaccine research and the sociological aspects of cybersecurity. Building on this body of research, we will further explore these themes at the Global Technology Summit from December 14 to 18, 2020.

If India wants cross-border data, it must reform its laws and surveillance strategies

Smriti Parsheera and Prateek Jha

Internet subscribers in India consumed an average of 11 gigabytes of wireless data per month as of March 2020. Consumption trends during the coronavirus pandemic are likely to be even higher. As more activities move online and work-from-home continues, so does the State’s interest in controlling this space — data access for law enforcement being one such form of control. As per transparency reports released by Google, Facebook, and Twitter, data requests by Indian law enforcement agencies (LEAs) increased about three-fold between 2016 to 2019, which corresponds with a similarly steep hike in India’s Internet consumption.

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Yes Bank, PNB crises shows why RBI needs a data-first approach to supervision

Rajesh Bansal

The recent Banking Regulation Amendment Act 2020 has exponentially increased the Reserve Bank of India’s regulatory role. The Act mandates that the RBI regulate management, capital, audit, and winding up processes in cooperative banks. The government and the central bank hope that this will help avert bank failures in the future. This amendment comes on top of another amendment this year where Housing Finance Companies, or HFCs, were also brought under the RBI’s ambit. However, the RBI does not have enough supervisory capabilities to successfully implement the amendment involving the cooperative banks. With approximately 700 people to monitor the 1,485 cooperative banks, the RBI is understaffed. It is short of both personnel as well as technical capacity to effectively oversee the cooperative banks along with the 134 scheduled commercial banks, 9,642 Non-Banking Finance Companies, or NBFCs, Small Finance Banks, and Payment Banks, etc. already under its purview.

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Banking to groceries — Data Protection Authority has multi-sector role, but must be efficient

Shivangi Tyagi and Anirudh Burman

India seems increasingly ready to enact a comprehensive privacy legislation to protect its consumer data. The Joint Parliamentary Committee set up to examine the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 is likely to release its report by the winter session of Parliament in December this year. The Narendra Modi government is expected to try and ensure the Bill is passed in the next budget session. It is therefore important to consider the regulatory and bureaucratic apparatus that will protect the data of Indian consumers for the next few decades.

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No law for bio emergencies, no strategy for next pandemic – India must learn from Covid

Shruti Sharma

The World Health Organization during its 73rd World Health Assembly, urged global leaders to prepare for the next pandemic. The WHO highlighted that “the COVID-19 pandemic is a sobering reminder that health is the foundation of social, economic and political stability”. But to prepare for the next unprecedented global event, it is important to identify gaps in the existing public health infrastructure and invest in the research needed to prepare and respond to infectious diseases.

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Govts want backdoor entry to encrypted WhatsApp texts. It can also be backdoor for hackers

Tarunima Prabhakar

The Sushant Singh Rajput case took a strange turn when news channels started displaying WhatsApp conversations of Bollywood actors. As the WhatsApp ‘leaks’ became a daily feature of prime time news, the shock of the message content disappeared and public began to wonder, ‘How are news channels getting access to this content? Isn’t WhatsApp conversation supposed to be encrypted?’

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