NEW DELHI: Protection, localisation and cross-border flows of data and privacy will be at the core of the upcoming ecommerce policy that will also focus on India’s position in global trade negotiations, officials in the know said.
With a group of 76 members including the US, European Union, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore working to develop trade rules for ecommerce, the Department for Promotion of Investment and Internal Trade (DPIIT), which is drafting the policy, has said the policy would focus on India’s interest at the World Trade Organization.
“The policy will be WTO-centric and we have studied the respective policies of the EU, US and China,” a top official told ET. “It is evolving now but data — be it storage, cross-border flows, privacy, community data or payments — is the main thrust. All other issues are ancillary.”
A draft of the policy is being deliberated upon within the commerce and industry ministry.
While the Department of Commerce, which deals with India’s trade issues, had floated a draft policy in July last year, the DPIIT was made the nodal department for the government’s ecommerce initiatives in September.
The earlier draft had proposed only personal data or community data collected by “Internet of Things” devices in “public space” to be stored in India and suggested other data, which have no personal or community implications, be stored anywhere. It had also suggested a two-year sunset period before making data localisation mandatory.
“We are taking care of all interests and have taken a lot of inputs already,” the official said.
Another person aware of the development said the policy was critical as half the membership of the WTO would soon begin text-based negotiations on global ecommerce rules, to which India is not a party.
India has told the WTO that developing countries needed to maintain policy space in certain aspects of ecommerce such as ownership and use and flow of data in “sunrise sectors like cloud computing and data storage” and in the facets related to hosting of servers, big data analytics and M2M (machine-to-machine) communication.
“While a data protection Bill is in the offing, the ecommerce policy will not be contradictory to it. The Bill is based on the Justice Srikrishna committee report that talks of personal data but the ecommerce policy has community data as its core. It talks of the economic rights of data,” an expert on data issues said.
Source: Economic Times