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Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar argues against data localisation

"The ideals of privacy and data protection in today’s world will never be achieved by a regulatory bearhug." Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said that cross-border data transfer restrictions and data localisation mandates are "likely to create a huge barrier to market entry" to companies in India. "India at present does not have the physical infrastructure to host large scale data centers," Chandrasekhar said. These comments are part of his filing to the IT Ministry's public consultation for the Srikrishna committee's data protection bill, provided to MediaNama. "These restrictions appear to be motivated only to facilitate law enforcement and Security agencies access to data and does not lead to any meaningful bolstering of privacy rights while it can be argued that the impact of such restrictions is also far reaching and disproportionate to the benefits," he said. Chandrasekhar is a member of the BJP. His views notably diverge from that of Vinit Goenka, who has called for 'data sovereignty' and strongly supported data localisation requirements. Chandrasekhar has previously argued against localisation, questioning its effectiveness. But, he said, "I won’t stake my parliamentary career on fighting data localisation," choosing instead to push on fairer ways to regulate data collection and regulating for harms that come out of it. According to the draft bill, data localisation and cross-border data transfer restrictions essentially require companies to host a large amount of user data within India, and in some cases only in India. Internet companies have traditionally pushed back against such restrictions, arguing that costs…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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