On Jan 24, Intel hosted and moderated parallel events in Brussels and New Delhi to celebrate Data Protection and Data Privacy Day 2018. A video link connection between the two capitals celebrated the event in a truly global fashion, allowing privacy and technology experts across two continents to sit around the same virtual table to address public policy issues. On both sides, we felt an increasing interest in understanding better what Europe has been doing in modernising their data protection regime with GDPR, what India can do to reap the benefits of a new privacy regime, and what will be the interplay between these two systems.
The historical judgement last year by India’s Supreme Court declaring the Right to Privacy a fundamental right will have implications not only on national privacy protection efforts but also on international data transfers and future scenarios for the digital economy. India, in fact, has embarked on a reform process to shape its new privacy regime: recently, a committee of experts appointed by the Ministry of IT released a consultation paper with crucial questions regarding priorities and challenges as part of the public consultation process. Intel responded to the public consultation and stands ready to continue this engagement with Indian authorities.
All panelists agreed on the tremendous opportunity that India has today to build a robust privacy framework. Solutions should focus on effectively protecting individuals while boosting innovation and growth. Joseph Cannataci, UN Rapporteur for the Right to Privacy, encouraged the Indian government to not take a minimalist approach but show leadership globally on privacy matters and establish a truly independent oversight body. Riccardo Masucci opened the discussion calling for a convergence of privacy approaches around the world, especially in relation to new technologies (as suggested in Intel’s Rethink Privacy effort). Michael Donohue suggested the OECD guidelines as a starting point for the new Indian privacy strategy and highlighted in particular the importance of risk-based accountability and cross-border data flow governance. David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer at Intel, emphasized the crucial role of data in fuelling innovation in AI and autonomous driving, and also in fostering trade.
Rama Vedashree, CEO of the Data Security Council of India, recommended an horizontal approach (covering public and private organisations across different sectors) for the new privacy framework to fully enable the digital economy, which is the biggest driver of India’s growth nowadays. Rahul Sharma, founder of The Perspective, warned against the threats of data localisation, which would increase costs, inhibit innovation, and impinge on competitiveness of Indian companies. Malavika Jayaram, Executive Director at Digital Asia Hub, insisted on the fact that there is a set of values underlying data protection that are essentially human and universal and are enablers of other rights, and therefore privacy protections should be seen as a competitive advantage. Bruno Gencarelli, Head of the International Data Flows and Protection unit at the European Commission (EC), gave an overview of the remarkable work done in 2017 to reach soon an adequate decision for data transfers with South Korea and Japan. The ongoing privacy reform could pave the way to a similar opportunity for India (which we are already seeing envisaged in the EC international strategy to enhance and protect data flows).
Shared values across regions should lead to a convergence of approaches and finally interoperability of legal systems and tools for safeguarding privacy while encouraging information flows: this seems to be the way forward. Intel is committed to facilitating a global dialogue on privacy issues and will continue to contribute to this dialogue – we believe that data protection does not relate only to technology, but permeates the very fabric of contemporary society.
If you want to know more about the contents of the discussion, a recording of the entire panel is available here.