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Data More Like Water Not Oil, Says Facebook Top Exec

Data More Like Water Not Oil, Says Facebook Top Exec

Mukesh Ambani has repeatedly called data the new oil

The government is currently drafting the data protection bill

Facebook and WhatsApp are fighting off govt pressure to increase traceability of their users

Facebook has said that to truly unlock the value of data, India to allow free flow of data and urged against “hoarding” it.

“There are many in India and around the world who think of data as the new oil, and that, like oil, having a great reserve of it held within your national boundaries will lead to surefire prosperity. But this analogy is mistaken,” said Nick Clegg, global head for public policy, Facebook, at an event on Thursday, ET reported.

“Data isn’t oil — a finite commodity — to be owned and traded, pumped from the ground and burned in cars and factories. Of course, no analogy is perfect, but a better liquid to liken it to is water, with the global internet like a great borderless ocean of currents and tides,” Clegg reportedly added.

Telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd, Reliance Jio, has emphasised on the requirement and a framework for data localisation to ensure cyberattacks are prevented. Jio has asked its corporates to take appropriate measures to protect data.

RIL in its annual report said that Jio is a strong supporter of local storage of data, which is critical for national interest and security. It also added that Jio believes Indians are true owners of their data and ownership should not be transferred to any corporate entity.

The Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal at G20 Trade Ministers’ meeting said that countries must have sovereign right to use their data including personal, community, and public data, for welfare of people, and advocating for free trade should not be necessarily lead to justification of data free flow.

Further talking about the requisites for making global ecommerce rules, he said, the issues of privacy and security should be given due consideration in the debate on free flow of data with trust.

Earlier in February, India has released its draft ecommerce policy which proposed regulation of cross border data flows and enabling sharing of anonymised community data.

Pointing to the vast amount of data being collected in India, Goyal said that Digital India, Startup India, Aadhaar are some of the major initiatives in the country that promote economic inclusivity, using digital platforms. He added that with growing internet usage domestically, an enormous amount of data is being generated in the country.

The international ecommerce rules are of importance because of the developed countries wanting to negotiate an agreement at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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