45% SMEs against Centre’s right to seek customer, supplier data

New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) Around 45 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups are opposed to the government’s right to seek anonymised data of their customers and suppliers under the Personal Data Protection Bill, according to a survey by LocalCircles.

The Data Protection Bill defines a framework for handling of personal data including its processing by various public and private companies and gives the Indian government the right to seek anonymised data of citizens from any business or company at any time.

The survey by the community social media platform showed 45 per cent said they were against it, 45 per cent said they were okay with it, while 10 per cent of respondents were unsure.

On the subject of the government’s rights over the aggregate data of businesses, startups opposing the rights say it should only be permitted in the event of a law-order, investigation or enforcement situations. For routine matters, government should have access to neither the aggregate data nor the algorithms used by a business as such an access can be easily misused or compromised, they said.

On the data sharing front, many startups operate in new areas and bring about an innovation in product, technology intervention or service and many of the cutting-edge technologies are still developed overseas.

The survey showed that many startups need access to overseas resources, expertise, tools and capital because not all of them are available in India and therefore, Indian startups may need to open offices overseas and hire resources there to develop their product or service and, in many cases, will have a need to share aggregate data between resources and legal entities.

It becomes imperative, therefore, that aggregate data of Indian startups be permitted to be shared with atleast their entities and group companies they have overseas.

“Similarly, if a foreign company acquires an Indian startup, they may have plans to take the product/service developed by the startup and scale it further globally and hence would require access to aggregate data of the startup.” the LocalCircles’ report said.

The survey received 4,923 responses from various startups, SMEs and entrepreneurs.

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