Formula for data location commitment an option

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet of the Union is likely to consider the possibility of the government facing opposing views on the issue, which could result in a compromise formulation in the legislation.

The government's opinion is that the concerns of other nations should be taken into account when addressing the issue of data localization, as India could face reciprocal action. The intention to promote India as an important destination for IT services may require that the general insistence that servers be physically present in India be modified.

The legislation can still provide safeguards and guarantees on access to data in case it is required by Indian agencies and will also have provisions to guarantee privacy and protection against commercial exploitation.

The Cabinet is also expected to adopt the Code of Safety, Health and Working Conditions, which aims to improve the coverage of workers.

The data protection bill will be carefully studied, as it comes after a detailed report from a committee headed by Judge Srikrishna and recent controversies such as the WhatsApp-Pegasus spy row. The ruling of the Supreme Court that makes privacy a fundamental right has also been added to the data discussion.

There have also been calls to evaluate and protect the data generated in India that are accessed by large multinationals and social media firms. Concerns have escalated after controversies arose before Lok Sabha's polls about the role of entities like Cambridge Analytica that illegally use Facebook data for political campaigns.

The role of social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook has been under scrutiny with accusations of political bias.