Data ownership, a bone of contention

  1. The E-commerce industry has expressed concerns over the draft E-commerce policy proposal that companies should share aggregate data with the government.
  2. Recently,Department of Industry and Internal Trade has released the draft National E-commerce Policy.The prime objective of the policy is to prepare and enable stakeholders to fully benefit from the opportunities that would arise from progressive digitalization of the domestic digital economy.
  3. The draft policy has been divided into 6 categories – a)Data b) Infrastructure Development, c)E-commerce marketplaces, d)Regulatory issues, e)Stimulating the domestic digital economy and f) Export promotion through e-commerce.
  4. The draft Ecommerce policy has proposed that Government be given access to source code,algorithms of Artificial Intelligence systems.It bars sharing of sensitive data of Indian users with third party entities,even with consent.The government is of the view that companies should not be the sole owners of such data and that it should also be used for the betterment of public as it belongs to citizens as well.
  5. However,companies have argued that processed data is equivalent to intellectual property and is the only thing giving them an edge over their rivals.It will also impact innovation and will also slow down technology transfer to India.
  6. Further,the E-commerce companies has also said that government should only have the right to seek aggregated data,source code and algorithms only in case of law and order or investigation situations.