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Not Just Privacy, But Also Control: Satya Nadella on Data Dignity

Not Just Privacy, But Also Control: Satya Nadella on Data Dignity

Data privacy must have full transparency, says Nadella at WEF Summit 2020

Microsoft CEO also calls data dignity crucial

India's Personal Data Protection Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in December 2019

Data privacy must be seen as a human right that needs to be protected and have full transparency, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday (23 Jan) at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Summit 2020.

During a chat with WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab, Nadella also said that it needs to be ensured that the huge data being used with consent is for the good of the society as well.

Globally, data privacy has been discussed widely for a few years now. Nadella also touched upon data dignity during the chat. “Data dignity is crucial and the next level of work is not just privacy, but one should be able to control how one’s data is used in the world,” Nadella said.

More than 80 countries and independent territories, including nearly every country in Europe and many in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa, now have comprehensive data protection laws. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation was implemented in May 2018. India’s Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in December 2019 and has been referred to a select committee of Parliament.

“What if the consumer benefited from their data as well as advertisers? More work needs to be done around data dignity – and new business models in the 2020s,” Nadella was quoted as saying by ET. He also added that we have an ability for the first time for software to be written by data, but we should not be too fast in abdicating our responsibility.

Discussing the pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence (AI), he said, “The best way to ensure there’s no bias in AI is to have the team creating the AI representing the diversity we want it to have.” He also quoted the example of New Delhi police using facial recognition to identify thousands of missing children in four days while also talking about how AI could be used to invade privacy.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also recently spoke about how AI needs to be regulated. He said that AI has the potential to improve billions of lives, and the biggest risk may be failing to do so. He also spoke about how he has no question in his mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated and said that it is too important not to. “The only question is how to approach it,” he said.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about India’s PDP bill. The PDP draft allowing law enforcement agencies to process personal data of users without consent for “reasonable purposes” is being criticised by many. Justice BN Srikrishna, who led the committee that drafted the bill, called it “dangerous”. He said that this can turn India into an Orwellian state.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) also said that the suggested provisions in the data protection bill raise serious concerns as some of the rules can be restrictive for service providers and enterprises and may not be inclined towards India’s target of a $1 Tn digital economy by 2024.

The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) has also requested the Joint Parliamentary Committee for a review of the draft bill by undertaking a public consultation before proceeding ahead with the bill. IFF said that the consultation will ensure that the public has a chance to give their comments on the PDP bill.

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