Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs and communications Nick Clegg met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 12, to discuss issues related to cross border data flow, information privacy, and sharing of data between the governments for citizens’ safety, reports the Financial Express. He also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and urged the Indian government to revive its bilateral relationship with the US on cyber co-operation, given that India and the US are in conflict on issues related to data sharing.

While speaking to the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, he said:

  • “The government should engage in data sharing among themselves to ensure the security of its citizens.”
  • “Collaboration across jurisdictions is more important than the issue of physical location.”

Initiatives to clamp down on cybercrime

Clegg said, “India finds itself locked out of major global data-sharing initiatives that are aimed to clamp down on serious cybercrime and cyberterrorism, like the CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act and the Budapest convention on cybercrime”, reports The Hindu. These initiatives allow for agreements with the government for speedier and automatic data sharing and it is an effective way of ensuring data is put to good use,he said. They also serve as a guideline for countries which are developing comprehensive national legislation against cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between state parties to this treaty, he said.

Payment services on Whatsapp

During his meeting with the IT minister, Clegg said Facebook is keen on rolling out the UPI payments on WhatsApp, for which the company is awaiting regulatory clearances. The service will compete existing players such as Paytm, Google Pay and PhonePe. WhatsApp payments is expected to fully roll out later this year. India has 400 million WhatsApp users and more than 328 million Facebook users.

Rights over personal data

Clegg said that India should create a mechanism for the internet that “respects the rights of individuals to choose what happens to their data.” He added that this mechanism should remain open and accessible to everyone. He encouraged the principle of cross-border data flow and said, “global economy relies on capital, human resources, and technological innovation to cross borders in order to flourish”. He further stated, “It is not just the global economy that relies on data sharing across borders, data sharing is crucial for national security too”.