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ShareChat, Info Edge and others spar over data protection bill

ShareChat, Info Edge and others spar over data protection bill
Photo Credit: Pixabay

At an open stakeholder discussion on the draft Personal Data Protection Bill drawn up by the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee, representatives from various internet companies sought clarification on aspects of the 213-page report. The meeting held by industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India on 30 August 2018 was attended by representatives from cab aggregator Ola, regional social media firm ShareChat, online travel portal MakeMyTrip, telecom firm Reliance Jio, Info Edge, online pharmacy 1mg and Info Edge, which runs jobs site Naukri.com, among others.

Storing at least a single copy of personal data on Indian servers and data centres was one of the key aspects discussed. Violating data privacy rules would involve strict penalties of up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover and the arrest of the promoters.

Indian social media company ShareChat and Reliance Jio, which is building an ecosystem of payments, chat, video and other services, insisted on data localisation for companies who wish to operate in India. “There are no country heads for WhatsApp and Facebook in India. If these social media companies want to operate here, they are required to follow the law of the land on localisation,” said a representative from ShareChat, which offers chat services and news in Indian languages.

Messaging app Hike, which is largely used by the younger demographic for its hidden chat features and stickers, sought clarity on storing personal data of children and what constitutes parental consent.

“An Indian parent who is not educated may not know what consent they are giving to the child using the app,” said a representative from the company.

The age limit below which parental consent will be needed was also debated by Info Edge Technologies for services provided in the online education space. Info Edge is an investor in education technology companies Meritnation and Univariety. The company, which also owns and operates Jeevansathi.com, sought to remove caste and tribe from the list of ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ as in the case of a matrimonial business, storing such data might constitute a violation of the bill.

The discussion points will be submitted to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology before the September 10 deadline, including written comments by other stakeholders.
 

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