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India’s new draft e-commerce policy focuses on data, competition, counterfeiting, consumer protection

E-commerce

A leaked draft of India's new e-commerce policy wants a new e-commerce regulator that has access to source code and algorithms to mitigate biases, wants access to non-personal data for law enforcement and taxation purposes, country of origin labels and much more. The document, shared with MediaNama by two industry sources, carves out huge mandates for e-commerce companies to share non-personal data with the government and muddies waters related to data localisation, mirroring and storage even further. The policy, despite talking about an e-commerce regulator does not specify if it will be a new regulatory body, and if so, under which ministry. All it says is that “any non-compliance e-Commerce entity/platform will not be given approval to operate in India. Necessary mechanisms may be put in place by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the other government departments concerned [sic]” (§12.2). It acknowledges law and order, revenue base erosion, privacy, anti-competitive behaviour, consumer protection, national security, counterfeit products, piracy, copyright infringement, etc. as issues that the need to be addressed. This draft, from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), comes more than a year after it released the first draft of India's National E-Commerce Policy. The Economic Times had first reported this, and Financial Express and Bloomberg have reported on similar aspects of the policy. MediaNama reached out to DPIIT repeatedly on Friday and Saturday to authenticate the document, but haven't heard from them yet. We will update the story once they respond. Here…

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