“Personal data can properly be subject to Indian legal reach and protections only when it is in India,” said IT for Change, an NGO, in its response to the additional comments sought by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) on the Personal Data Protection Bill. The ministry had privately sought responses to fresh questions on the data protection bill from select stakeholders - a development we made public last month. Some stakeholders have responded to the consultation despite not being contacted by MEITY for responses. S. Gopalakrishnan, Joint Secretary MEITY had said then that that there would be no public consultations, and the ministry has only sought clarifications from some people. Note that the questions asked by MEITY didn't appear to be clarifications, and some of them covered new points of discussion not covered in the data protection bill consultation. In its responses, IT for Change welcomed data localisation claiming that "localised data has immense legal and economical value". It also said that any framework surrounding community data should lay a general claim of “Indian data being first for Indians and its various communities”. Here are detailed notes from IT for Change’s responses: Why Personal data needs to be stored in India Data as an economic asset: ‘Once out of a country, a country retains no claim or control over data’ When personal data is anonymised, it becomes community data of, and about, the corresponding community from where it arises; this is a collective asset, with much commercial value, said…
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