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Google Opens Center in Germany to Curb Data Privacy Issues

Staff will work with Google privacy specialists in other cities to build products for use around the world, Pichai said

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FILE -Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the keynote address of the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., May 7, 2019. VOA

Google opened a privacy focused engineering center in Munich, Germany, on Tuesday, its latest move to beef up its data protection credentials as tech companies’ face growing scrutiny of their data collection issues.

CEO Sundar Pichai said the Silicon Valley tech giant is expanding its operations in the southern German city, including doubling the number of data privacy engineers there to more than 200 by the end of 2019.

The new Google Safety Engineering Center will make Munich a global hub for the company’s “cross-product privacy engineering efforts,” Pichai said in a blog post.

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Staff will work with Google privacy specialists in other cities to build products for use around the world, Pichai said. Pixabay

Staff will work with Google privacy specialists in other cities to build products for use around the world, Pichai said, adding that Munich engineers built the Google Account control panel as well as privacy and security features for the Chrome browser.

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Data privacy and security at Google and its tech rivals including Facebook are increasingly in the spotlight. Both companies dedicated much of their annual developer conferences last week to privacy, with Google unveiling new tools giving people more control over how they’re being tracked while Facebook outlined plans to connect people though more private channels. (VOA)

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Data Privacy Cause of Concern Without Structural Framework

There are other concerns from the industry as well

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As cybersecurity firm Kaspersky explained in a blog, most apps collect some information about the user. Pixabay

The Indian Data Protection bill 2019 which aims to help consumers exercise their privacy rights needs a proper structural framework else personal data of millions of users in the country will be at stake, leading industry experts said on Monday.

As the world observes Data Privacy Day on January 28, experts and leading industry bodies have already demanded clarification in several areas of ambiguity that exists in the draft Bill.

The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, has been referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses. The JPC has been constituted under the chairmanship of New Delhi MP Meenakashi Lekhi for examination and report.

“Although the Indian Data Protection bill aims to play an important role in fabricating regulations for governing the increasingly data-driven landscape, without a structural framework data privacy becomes a cause of concern, Lovneesh Chanana, Vice President, Digital Governments (Asia Pacific & Japan), SAP, told IANS.

A report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in December said that the bill categorises data as Personal data, Sensitive Personal data and Critical Personal data, but the industry lacks clarity on to which data qualifies under which head and hence is not equipped to take necessary precautions.

“The problem gets aggravated when data collection and processing are done by different agencies, in which case, each fiduciary will have to take consent at every step of the operation,” said the report.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha on December 11, announced that the draft Bill empowers the government to ask companies including Facebook, Google and others for anonymised personal data and non-personal data.

However, there are concerns around a provision in the draft bill, seeking to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved.

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A French soldier watches code lines on his computer during the International Cybersecurity forum in Lille, northern France, Jan. 23, 2019. VOA

Several legal experts have said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country.

Ashish Aggarwal, Senior Director and Head, Policy & Advocacy, NASSCOM, however, said the Indian Data Protection bill will be the basis for consumers to exercise their privacy rights.

“The industry will benefit from increased trust by implementing the law diligently. The IT industry has a huge role in using technology solutions to implement the key principles of the law for both the industry and government, in an intuitive and cost effective manner,” Aggarwal told IANS.

There are other concerns from the industry as well.

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Shankar Roddam, Chief Operating Officer, Subex said that the Data Protection bill 2019 talks about monetary compositions like penalties for any abuse or failure to comply with guidelines.

“I personally feel that government should consider sanctions that are being monetary compositions like banning certain privileges for subsidies, funding, directorship, etc. This will help ensure privacy and regulate protection for companies,” Roddam noted.

The experts have demanded clarification in several areas of ambiguity that exists in the draft Bill which need to be better clarified for businesses to fully comprehend the extent of adjustments businesses will have to do to comply with them. (IANS)