Is India about to relax its data storage rules? A widely reported (though as yet unconfirmed by government) new draft version of a planned privacy bill seems to indicate that it is.
The bill, according to sources cited by Bloomberg News, will change the regulation restricting the export of data to all regions except those named by the government. This apparently was the proposal in an earlier draft bill (last November in fact).
The new regulation will allow companies to export data to any country except those specifically named by the government. India also plans to further relax its approach to data storage, processing and transfer beyond its borders.
This won’t just please international players like Google. It could also boost opportunities for Indian firms seeking growth abroad.
If the predictions prove correct, the new bill could indicate a willingness by India to tone down its focus on protecting consumers’ interests and aiding home-grown enterprises in order to enhance the appeal of this vast market for the global internet giants.
These aren’t the only considerations of the bill, of course. It will also touch on the use of personal data by companies, the role in data privacy of sector-specific regulators and the appointment of India-based data protection officers, among other areas.
Will this move be welcomed by Amazon, Meta and others? And could it affect the data centre boom that has partly been driven by data localisation requirements? We should soon find out. The amended bill has been approved by the cabinet and goes for parliamentary approval in the session that begins 20 July.