India has established itself as an important market for international internet companies. As much as the Indian economy is developing, the country’s youth has been able to mark a distinctive presence in the online space. While a number of Indian tech-based startups were born in the recent years, they are yet to take the lead.
Be it in social media, e-commerce or mobile segment, non-India-based companies have emerged as the biggest players in majority of industries. The infamous Cambridge Analytica Scandal however has terrorized the Indian internet users of consuming their services, as its data is recorded and stored in foreign servers.
Indian government took this opportunity to hit two birds with one stone. Implementing data localization was a trump card which was able to hit the right chords. Bending international giants to set up data servers locally not only proved the India’s strength but also brought forward nation’s ideology of self-reliable.
Xiaomi’s Turn-Over to India
Chinese mobile maker Xiaomi is the latest global name to migrate its data of Indian users to local servers. The company will be using the existing infrastructures of Cloud service providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, which according to Xiaomi India’s Vice President Manu Jain are “highly secured”.
“At Xiaomi, data privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. We are taking one more step towards user data security and privacy by bringing our Cloud services to India for all local data needs,” he said in a statement.
Xiaomi will migrate all the existing Indian users’ data on mi.com/in to local servers by mid-September whereas the data from other Xiaomi platforms would be migrated by the year end. The data was earlier stored in secured AWS servers across Singapore and USA. The data migration is expected to accelerate the access speed.
“At Xiaomi, data privacy and security are of utmost importance to us,” Jain added. Unlike other global brands, Xiaomi has always supported the idea of moving its servers to India. Last year, Indian government had asked about 20 mobile manufacturers to outline the procedures undertaken by them to ensure security of user data.
E-commerce major Amazon was also not spared from data localization. The Indian government recently asked the American giant to set up its servers in India to prevent unbridled cross-border migration of customer data. The platform has millions of subscribers from India and local storage of their data will make a big hit on the company’s operating costs.
“Localization of servers in India and having an element of consent of Indians is important for usage (analytics) of the data,” IT and communication minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said. While the authorities are concerned about the safety and security of Indians, they are also worried about the element of consent.
The government is working on a data protection framework as recommended by Justice B N Srikrishna-led panel to ensure that data generated through e-commerce operations does not go out of the country. The draft of Data Protection Bill further proposes that the explicit consent should be taken for processing sensitive personal data.
What is The Road Ahead?
Companies like Paytm, Microsoft and Google have lent their support to data localization. Government’s insistence was also able to bring WhatsApp on board recently. However, its UPI app is still battling for operating permissions due to the organization not having a physical presence in the country yet.
Nonetheless, the international giants have agreed to move Indians’ data to local servers. While the process might take time and increase data processing costs of some organizations, it will have a positive effect on the Indian users and instill a sense of safety in them as they use the platforms.