Industry body CII Tuesday said the proposed national e-commerce policy should provide greater clarity on data sharing as forced disclosure may raise concerns on privacy. In its comments on the draft policy floated by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), it also said the regulations should not aim at “micro managing” players in the e-commerce sector, but should act as enabler to promote innovations. In February, the DPIIT floated the draft policy proposing setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad. In its suggestions, the CII said role of an e-commerce platform is that of an intermediary and hence the responsibility of preventing IP infringements while limited, is a joint one with the larger role around liability and gatekeeping on the seller/ manufacturer.
“Forced disclosures and data sharing can infringe privacy concerns and hence greater clarity and calibration are required on the context, procedure and expectations around the Government’s right to mandate forced transfer of proprietary information,” CII said.
The draft says that a business entity that collects or processes any sensitive data in India and stores it abroad, shall be required to adhere to certain conditions. The conditions state that all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to other business entities outside India, for any purpose, even with the customer’s consent. Further, the data shall also not be made available to a third party for any purpose and it would also not be shared with a foreign Government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities, the draft said. CII further suggested that the e-commerce policy should not aim for a one size fits all approach but take into account the diversity of organisations and industries it affects. “Hence, the policy should determine its scope of work and aim to limit its overreach accordingly,” it said.
Also, the regulation should not aim to micromanage or overpower innovation, but to become an enabler of innovation and opportunities. Ritesh Agarwal, Chairman, CII National Committee on e-commerce said in the last decade, e-commerce has touched every aspect of lives and is growing at an impressive pace.
“Through this committee’s representation to the DPIIT, we will explore ways to increase economic opportunities and empower businesses,” he said. Anjan Das, Executive Director of CII said any legal framework impacting e-commerce ecosystem is of critical importance for both consumers as well as service providers. CII said it has held stakeholder consultation and invited them to provide detailed comments, issues and proposed solutions which have been compiled to form a comprehensive list of responses to the draft policy.