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Mozilla: India’s National Open Digital Ecosystems strategy should avoid “open washing”

India's National Open Digital Ecosystems (NODE) strategy should avoid "open washing", Mozilla said. Mozilla pointed to the fact that IndiaStack initiatives are often claimed to be open, but are not substantially open sourced to the public. They addded that it was important that NODEs be truly open, saying "Many initiatives associated with the IndiaStack project have been accused of open washing, and the leeway provided by the Strategy only increases the risk of this recurring." Mozilla said projects should "define the minimum baseline of openness to be followed by these projects," and that they "should be called ‘open’ only if they satisfy this baseline." The National Open Digital Ecosystems strategy has been put forward for consultation by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to guide the next wave of e-governance applications and systems used by the government. The consultation period ended on May 31. Mozilla said further consultations should be held, adding that "regular workshops with diverse stakeholders should be held to aid multi stakeholder inputs, including civil society groups outside the technology sector." Data protection law should be in place Mozilla said that a data protection law should first be in place before the strategy is adopted. "[The Strategy] should explicitly recommend that strong data protection law with an independent data protection authority be enacted before any NODE project is implemented," Mozilla said.  "Each NODE project should explicitly state the relevant policies, regulations, laws, and court decisions that apply to the project’s operations and design." Govt can…

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