Google, Facebook, Amazon Will Be Forced To Sell Users’ Public Data To Private Companies And Government

Google, Facebook, Amazon Will Be Forced To Sell Users' Public Data To Private Companies And Government
Google, Facebook, Amazon Will Be Forced To Sell Users’ Public Data To Private Companies And Government

Privacy is a major concern these days. Especially when it comes to nation-wide demands. It so appears that the government may make it mandatory for companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon to sell public, or non-personal, data that they collect to anyone in the country seeking access to it, including the government and private entities.

Govt. May Ask Cos to Sell Them user Data

Yes, you read it right. Apparently, the strongest companies in the world, termed as ‘Seven Super’ companies, namely: Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba make up two-thirds of the total data market by value.

This has left countries like India and Japan on the back wheel. India is trying hard two-thirds of the total data market by value. Thus, the government now wants such cos like Google and Facebook to sell them public and non-personal data.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) however, is considering issuing guidelines under the Information Technology Act that will require agencies and companies to share their available information freely. A final decision will be taken only after an ‘exhaustive’ consultation process.

This MeitY also believes that since these big tech companies were actually the ones to come up with the idea and do the work in the first place, it must be such companies who should have the right to charge an economic fee for sharing it and not some government repository. The new guidelines will also be aimed at ensuring competition in this space and universal access to the database generated from its citizens.

The ‘Seven Super’ Takes it All

At present, when a company like Google takes a user’s consent before allowing access to a service, there is no alternative offered. In fact

  • Google has some 90% of the market for internet searches
  • Facebook accounts for two-thirds of the global social media market and is the top social media platform in more than 90% of the world’s economies
  • Amazon boasts an almost 40% share of the world’s online retail activity
  • Amazon Web Services accounts for a similar share in cloud services.

In order to contribute its share into these mammoths, India will have to build a coalition with like-minded partners. Discussions over public data have gained speed in recent days. There is an increasing consensus within various ministries that both public data guidelines and the private data legislation must go hand in hand rather than wait for the latter to first become law.

India refused to sign the Osaka Declaration on ‘Free Flow of Data Across Borders’ in June, highlighting its wish not to give up ownership of its data given that with the dominance of the ‘Seven Super’ companies, the rest of the world is trailing far behind the US and China.

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