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Amazon, Facebook, Google Oppose India’s Mandates To Regulate Non-Personal Data

Amazon, Facebook, Google Oppose India’s Mandates To Regulate Non-Personal Data

USIBC has called imposed non-personal data sharing is antithetical to promoting competition

The letter also alleged that “forced data sharing” will limit foreign trade and investment in developing countries

Google, Amazon and others raised concerns about the recommendation to mandate local storage for non-personal data

In more resistance to India’s data protection regulations for non-personal data, US-India Business Council (USIBC), part of the US Chamber of Commerce, has raised its concerns around the sharing of proprietary data by Google, Facebook, Amazon and other US-based technology giants.

USIBC’s draft letter, as seen by Reuters, has called India’s imposed data sharing an “anathema” to promote competition. It further said that this undermines investments made by companies to process and collect such information.

The letter comes in the context of the plan of the Indian government to regulate “non-personal” data recorded by tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google among others. In July, a government-appointed panel had recommended setting up a regulator for information that is anonymised or devoid of personal details but critical for companies to build their businesses. 

It also proposed a mechanism for firms to share data with other entities, including competitors, which would spur the digital ecosystem. The report, if adopted by the government, will form the basis of a new law to regulate such data. The Indian panel has listed research, national security and policymaking among purposes for which such data should be shared. 

However, this hasn’t gone down well with the USIBC. The group has categorically opposed mandates that require the sharing of proprietary data. “It will also be tantamount to confiscation of investors’ assets and undermine intellectual property protections,” the letter read.

The head of the panel, Kris Gopalakrishnan, founder of Infosys, reportedly said the group will work with the government to review inputs from the industry.

It has been highlighted that “forced data sharing” will limit foreign trade and investment in developing countries, and the panel’s proposals run against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s calls for US companies to invest in India.

The lobby group also raised concerns about the panel’s recommendation to mandate local storage for non-personal data, describing this as a “dramatic tightening” of India’s international data transfer regime.

“These are far-reaching concepts that would have a significant impact on the ability of both Indian and multinational firms to do business in India,” law firm Covington & Burling reportedly said in a note prepared for the USIBC.