Nick Clegg, vice president, global affairs and communications, Facebook, believes sharing data is important for national security.
Clegg met minister of information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, home minister Amit Shah and national security advisor Ajit Doval during his visit to India.
At an event, Clegg emphasised on the importance of sharing data between governments to ensure the security of its citizens, according to a report by Financial Express. He said collaboration was more important than the issue of the physical location of data.
“There are many in India and around the world who think of data as the new oil and like oil having a great reserve of it held within your national boundaries will lead to surefire prosperity. But this analogy is mistaken,” Clegg said, The Economic Times reported.
He likened data to the ocean, where the free flow of water benefits humanity.
India, according to Clegg, is locked out of major data-sharing initiatives for a clampdown on terrorism like the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act and the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime, the Economic Times report said.
Clegg’s visit comes ahead of the roll-out of Personal Data Protection Bill, which will mandate foreign companies to store critical data of Indians on their platforms within the country.
With 328 million users, India is an important market for the social media giant Facebook. WhatsApp, a popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has some 400 million users so far.
According to earlier reports, the government is likely to allow cross border exchange of anonymised data in the tweaked Personal Data Protection Bill.
Facebook is also awaiting regulatory clearance on the rollout of its unified payments interface-based payment platform WhatsApp Pay in India.
WhatsApp has claimed to be fully compliant with the requirement for data localisation as per the Reserve Bank of India guidelines.