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Facebook global executive meets IT minister, discusses cross-border data flows

NEW DELHI: Facebook global executive Nick Clegg on Thursday met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and discussed issues including cross-border data flows, information privacy, and sharing of data between the governments for citizen safety.

Clegg, who is Facebook’s vice-president (global affairs and communications), said the governments should engage in data sharing among themselves to ensure security of its citizens, and that such collaboration across jurisdiction is more important than the issue of physical location of data, per se.

Speaking with PTI, after the 45-minute meeting with the minister, Clegg said, “One of the things that came up (during the meeting) was that one of the effective ways that governments can cooperate with each other to keep their citizens safe is to enter into new agreements with each other to share data for security purposes.”

Terming India as a “huge market” for Facebook and its group companies, Clegg said the US tech giant is “keen to make progress” on rolling out its payments services on WhatsApp.

“We have 400 million WhatsApp users in this country…it’s a huge market. As you may know, we have pilot of one million WhatsApp users in this country who are using WhatsApp Pay, we are keen to make a progress on that…We touched on that,” he said.

WhatsApp payment service, which will compete with the likes of Paytm, Google Pay and PhonePe, is awaiting regulatory clearance in India, and the company had earlier said it hopes to roll out full-fledged services later this year.

Asked about his views on India’s plans to mandate data localisation as also tighten rules for social media platforms, Clegg said data-sharing across jurisdictions is more important than where that information is located physically.

“It is more important how you share data across jurisdictions than where you physically locate it. If you want to use data particularly to make sure people are kept safe and, in our view, the fact that US Congress has allowed CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act which allows for agreements with Governments such as India for speedier and automatic data sharing…that is far more effective way of ensuring data is put to good use,” he said.

Clegg, who is the former deputy prime minister of the UK, also met Home Minister Amit Shah earlier in the day. While the home ministry’s official Twitter handle posted a picture from the meeting, it did not give details.

Source: Economic Times