The government has kicked off inter-ministerial dialogue for consultations on the matter. Among the proposals discussed was a suggestion to formulate a new Digital Markets Act to govern business practices of big tech companies.
India is mulling legislation to regulate data collection and data usage policies of big tech companies.
As part of the process, the government has kicked off inter-ministerial dialogue for consultations on the matter and to chart the next course of action.
According to the Mint’s sources, the talks saw participation by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Among the proposals discussed at the meeting was a suggestion to formulate a new Digital Markets Act to govern business practices including data collection and usage by tech giants. Besides this, the panel also proposed to introduce certain guidelines in the Competition Act itself to address concerns surrounding the new-age digital companies. The authorities are also looking at global best practices to form a consensus.
This comes amid concerns over alleged use of data by big tech firms for stifling competition in the market. The issue gathered further steam after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce in a report on “Promotion and Regulation of E-Commerce in India” called for strengthening its ‘ex-ante’ approach to regulate competition in the space, as against the ‘ex-post’ model in vogue currently.
Regulatory action now takes place once issues related to derailing of competition arise. On the other hand, the ex-ante model acts beforehand and will entail issuing a code of conduct for big tech companies on how to act on matters involving data collection and use.
The report also called for identifying entities that act as “gatekeeper” platforms and sought a minimum threshold for such firms on parameters such as number of registered users, sellers, number of transactions, volume of data aggregated, among others.