Sunday June 16, 2019
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Claims, Data Storing Call Comes With Risk in India

"Our stance on data localisation is a risk. That is, if we get blocked in a major country, that will hurt our community and our business. But our principles on data localization aren't new and this has always been a risk," the Facebook CEO added.

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Mark Zuckerberg
Stopping abuse is certainly important, but, said Zuckerberg, "I would argue that, even more, the deeper question: Is that the intrinsic design of the systems, right?" VOA

 India’s data localisation demands are understandable but allowing it for one nation can trigger a demand from countries which are much more authoritarian and can misuse the citizens’ data, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

In a conversation with historian and author Yuval Noah Harari on Friday, Zuckerberg said the motives and intents behind storing data locally matter the most.

“I think that… the motives matter and certainly, I don’t think that either of us would consider India to be an authoritarian country,” Zuckerberg responded to a question why is it safe to store the data about Indian citizens in the US and not in India when they’re openly saying they care only about themselves.

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines say that all digital payment firms like Google Pay, WhatsApp and others must store data locally for their businesses. Pixabay

“The intent matters, right. And I think countries can come at this with open values and still conclude that something like that could be helpful.

“But I think one of the things that you need to be very careful about is that if you set that precedent you’re making it very easy for other countries that don’t have open values and that are much more authoritarian and want the data not to protect their citizens but to be able to surveil them and find dissidents and lock them up,” Zuckerberg emphasised.

In an earlier earnings call with investors, he said that Facebook won’t store sensitive data in countries where it might be improperly accessed.

“More countries following the approach of authoritarian regimes adopting strict data localization policies where governments can more easily access people’s data, and I’m highly concerned about that future,” he noted.

“Our stance on data localisation is a risk. That is, if we get blocked in a major country, that will hurt our community and our business. But our principles on data localization aren’t new and this has always been a risk,” the Facebook CEO added.

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In a conversation with historian and author Yuval Noah Harari on Friday, Zuckerberg said the motives and intents behind storing data locally matter the most. Pixabay

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines say that all digital payment firms like Google Pay, WhatsApp and others must store data locally for their businesses.

In the conversation with Harari, he said that Facebook needs to build up really advanced systems for detecting interference in the democratic process and more broadly being able to identify that.

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“The idea is to identify when people are standing up networks of fake accounts that are not behaving in a way that normal people would, to be able to weed those out and work with law enforcement and election commissions and folks all around the world and the intelligence community to be able to coordinate and be able to deal with that effectively,” Zuckerberg noted.

Stopping abuse is certainly important, but, said Zuckerberg, “I would argue that, even more, the deeper question: Is that the intrinsic design of the systems, right?” (IANS)

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The Much Needed ‘Digital Revolution’ on the Right Track

However, according to R.K. Rana, former Director General, Assam Rifles, social media has limited use for the Armed Forces

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"It's time for social media companies to get serious about their responsibility to young people," Hinds was quoted as saying by The Sun. Pixabay

For the Generation Z, it has already become a way of life – tweeting about the problems while getting a passport or writing a Facebook post about the sanitary conditions on trains and expecting a response from the concerned authorities. This was unimagianble just a few years ago.

In fact, keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of creating a digitally empowered nation, a large number of leaders, organisations, Ministries and the Armed Forces are marking their presence felt online – that too with witty quips at times.

With rapid smartphone penetration and half a billion people in the country now using Internet, millennials now feel that the much needed “digital revolution” is on the right track.

Sampada Saraf, a 24-year old Deputy Collector from Madhya Pradesh believes that digitalisation has not only made proceedings more transparent for the citizens, but has also helped authorities keep a tab on the progress of their work.

“From registration of complaints to getting a caste certificate, ration card or land disputes, has been or is in the process of being shifted ‘online’,” Saraf told IANS.

“Our official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts keep us well connected to the people we serve.”

The previous government launched the “Digital India” campaign in 2015 to ensure all of the government’s services are made electronically available.

Four years later, today, the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Office of the Prime Minister of India (PMO India), Ministry of Defence, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and other major organisations are heavily followed on social networking platforms.

How active, witty and prompt the Indian government organisations are on social media was highlighted recently when the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) responded to a user of its official ticket booking application who complained of obscene advertisements on the app.

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When journalists apply their traditional method of crafting headlines, tweets and other social media posts to Trump, they end up passively spreading misinformation by uncritically repeating his falsehoods, the study added. Pixabay

The response of IRCTC, asking the user to clear his browsing history, kept trending on all social networking websites for a couple of days.

While talking to IANS, Alok Dave, retired General Manager, Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli said, “I think there is a paradigm shift in any communication with people due to technology changes and therefore everybody, whether government or private must use these methods for basic survival.”

Since digitalisation has bridged the gap between citizens and the government, a lot of information and data now reach the authorities first hand.

“Social media has eliminated the need of a middleman. People personally reach out to us with their grievances which not only keeps information clear but also helps us help them immediately,” said Sunil Dubey, Deputy Secretary, Department of Revenue, Madhya Pradesh.

Leading from the front, Modi has 47.8 million followers on Twitter where he conveys important policy decisions and 22.9 million followers on Instagram where he posts about cricket, travel destinations and pictures of him meditating in ice capped mountains, while keeping his country informed about the work he looks into.

There are also no two opinions about the fact that people now care about the digital presence of the government handles.

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Twitterati on Friday, for example, reacted sharply after the Twitter handle of the Indian Army’s Chinar Corps was suspended for unknown reason. The account was restored later.

However, according to R.K. Rana, former Director General, Assam Rifles, social media has limited use for the Armed Forces.

“The Army must make use of social media for specific purposes like instilling faith in the hearts and minds of people in terrorism infected and remote areas and in aiding civil authorities during floods, earthquakes etc.,” Rana said. (IANS)