“Data and digital technology is the new factor of production, be it in retail, health care, or other businesses,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, adding that data privacy is a human right, and that individual companies could not ‘abdicate their responsibilities’, reports the Economic Times.

Nadella says

  • “It is natural for countries to put their interest first, but we have to find a global maxima as the climate, environment, and cyberspace are all shared commodities.”
  • “If we are in competition with rivals without applying self-regulatory checks, it could lead to an aggravated problem,” he said, with respect to tech companies, as per the report.
  • “In a digital world, everybody can grow if we realise that the web is interconnected. When it comes to data privacy, there are ethical standards in place. A similar framework should be in place when artificial intelligence goes mainstream.”
  • For the regulation of facial recognition technology

Regulations left, right and centre

Nadella’s remarks come in the face of Indian ‘Intermediary Liability’ regulations. Yesterday, India’s Union IT Minister, RS Prasad, said that India would not hold back from making laws that safeguard national interest when it comes to regulating social media content. “As a minister, I want to assure that a social media company shall not be allowed to abuse the data of Indians to influence elections,” Prasad said. There have been for-and-against comments on the proposed guidelines which would be an amendment to India’s IT Act, 2000.

Recent stands on data and privacy

  • Last month, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of RIL, said that “India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people ─ and not by corporates, especially global corporations. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India ─ in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian.”
  • Last November, Prasad had also said that while data privacy was a must, it should not be at the cost of innovation, and that data privacy should not kill innovation. “We must have a healthy balance between data availability, data utility, data innovation and data privacy,” he said.

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