Favour localisation of data: Truecaller to JPC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Favour localisation of data: Truecaller to JPC

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByDeeksha Bhardwaj
Nov 07, 2020 06:12 AM IST

The JPC has met several industry leaders such as Amazon, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Paytm, Reliance Jio, Ola, Uber and Bharti Airtel over last two weeks to discuss the nuances of the Data Protection Bill.

Truecaller, a Sweden-based mobile app that helps identify unknown phone numbers and block spam calls, told the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi, on Friday that it supports data localisation, a person familiar with the matter said.

The person cited above told HT that while Airtel, Jio, Ola and Paytm have supported data localisation, Truecaller is the first international firm to back the move.
The person cited above told HT that while Airtel, Jio, Ola and Paytm have supported data localisation, Truecaller is the first international firm to back the move.

The JPC has met several industry leaders such as Amazon, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Paytm, Reliance Jio, Ola, Uber and Bharti Airtel over last two weeks to discuss the nuances of the Data Protection Bill. The JPC is due to submit its report by the winter session of Parliament.

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The person cited above told HT that while Airtel, Jio, Ola and Paytm have supported data localisation, Truecaller is the first international firm to back the move. “After hearing their reasons, it makes sense that other companies do so as well. They haven’t just cited cost-efficiency but also increased security, safety and speed of business for having the data centres in India,” the person said.

Data localisation has been a sore point for many tech giants, including the four biggest technology companies in the world -- Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter. They have argued that localisation may lead to the possibility of a “fractured internet” or “splinternet”.

Amazon has expressed reservations over restrictions in cross-border data transfer, saying that it will hamper India’s business and economy.

A person familiar with Twitter’s testimony, however, said that the House panel did not pose any question on data localisation to the social media giant.

The person cited above said that the prevalent view, before Truecaller spoke to the panel, had been that Indian and foreign companies are divided on the issue of data localisation.

“Truecaller’s stance shows that it is not only cheaper but also more efficient to store data in India,” the person said.

The Personal Data Protection Bill proposes that tech companies store data of all Indian citizens within the country and that sensitive data, such as financial or healthcare data, not be stored outside India. Currently, the companies are allowed to only process sensitive data outside India. A Truecaller spokesperson confirmed that the company has a data centre in India just outside Mumbai, where it has stored data of Indian users since 2017. Truecaller launched its India arm in 2013.

Lekhi said data localisation was the way forward. “The interaction with different stakeholders has been a fantastic one,” she said.

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