The Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu highlighted the need for data protection in this technology-driven age, and called for innovations that would help accomplish that in a speech in Hyderabad on Wednesday (read the full text here). Inaugurating a two-day seminar on ‘New Paradigms in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Security’, Naidu said artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were “the most exciting of these [disruptive] technologies”, and had potentially endless applications. He said AI and ML were important because, when coupled with advanced in data collection and aggregation, they could give machines the intelligence to perform “high-level cognitive processes”. He added that while large companies used AI and ML extensively, “we have to explore the possibility of using these technologies in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to make them more robust. He also said that India must change its mindset with respect to cyber security, which is “often an afterthought”.

Protecting data in the 21st century

VP Naidu drew attention to concerns about data privacy as internet becomes ever more pervasive. He said the adoption of smart devices and IoT devices were responsible for the “complete dissolution of previously secure network perimeters”. Debates around data and cyber security in policy and political circles today centre around data localisation. The government has been keen to posit data localisation as the silver bullet that will solve all of India’s data privacy and cyber security concerns. It’s worth noting that the vice president did not mention or allude to data localisation during his address, despite his refrain that “cyber security must be an essential part of our technology culture”.

‘India must become a net exporter of technology’

The vice president reiterated the need to for India to boost exports and become a net exporter of technology. He cited the RBI’s first bi-monthly monetary policy statement 2018-19, which talked about a marked shift in the India’s exports “from primary and traditional low value-added exports to higher value-added manufacturing and technology-driven items”. The National Policy on Software Products, which was approved by the cabinet earlier this year, similarly aims to transform India from a net importer of software products into a net exporter.

Source: RBI