Cross-border Data Flows Fundamental for AI Growth in India

PTI, December 17, 2018

While at the same time, ensuring privacy of citizens while deploying AI technology will be the cornerstone for the future of emerging technologies

The Dialogue, an emerging public-policy think-tank delivered a conference on AI, privacy and cross-border data flows and also released a working paper titled “Intersection of Artificial Intelligence with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy”, at the Constitution Club of India.

The findings of the paper suggest that privacy can complement innovation in AI along with the fact that cross-border flow of data is imperative to drive AI growth in the future. Every day, large amounts of data flow course through the internet, over borders to power technologies that is leveraged for AI development and deployment. This data may originate from many sources located in multiple jurisdictions, making it imperative that data can move freely across borders. At the same time, with rising data collection and storage, doctrinal notions around ‘consent’ and ‘privacy notices’ should be considered. Privacy by design techniques can be incorporated at the level of privacy notices but also at each level of information flow till its storage and processing stage.

Founding Director of The Dialogue, Mr. Kazim Rizvi, stated, “This paper addresses two key challenges – enabling cross-border data flows to drive AI and ensuring that high-level privacy standards are complied with for AI deployment. For India to emerge as a leader in AI, it is crucial to harness its potential while maintaining privacy of citizens, while at the same time, we must ensure that data is allowed to flow across borders to give our technologists, scientists, engineers and developers the best possible opportunity to leverage AI for India’s development.”

The conference discussed key issues around the value of data for AI, importance for cross-border data flows, the ethical, legal and privacy aspects around AI deployment and a policy framework going forward. The discussions from the conference will be inputted towards the completion of the working paper for final publication in January.

The keynote address was given by Mr. Kalikesh Singh Deo, MP Lok Sabha and Dr. Neeta Verma, Director-General, National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, while Dr. Narendra Jadhav, MP Rajya Sabha gave the valedictory remarks.

Other officials from the government included Dr. Avik Sarkar, NITI Aayog and Mr. Atul Tripathi. The conference saw participation from industry that included Ms. Bishakha Bhattacharya, IBM; Mr. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, BSA Software Alliance; Ms. Anubhuti Bhrany, HP; as well as civil-society professionals such as Mr. Saikat Datta, Asia Times; Mr. Naman Aggarwal, Access Now; Mr. Apar Gupta, Internet Freedom; Mr. Amol Kulkarni, CUTS International; Mr. Rahul Sharma, IAPP; Ms. Gunja Kapoor from Pahle India Foundation; Mr. Adnan Ansari, 9.9 Insights; Ms. Anulekha Nandi, Digital Empowerment Foundation and Mr. Harsh Bajpai, The Dialogue. The event witnessed a strong participation from the legal community comprising of Ms. Meenu Chandra, Adyopant Legal, Mr. Prasanna S, Independent Lawyer, Ms. Pritka Kumar and Mr. Kushan Chakraborty from Cornellia Chambers, Ms. Arya Tripathi, PSA Legal and Mr. Aaron Kamath, Nishith Desai Associates.

The tech community saw participation from Dr. Gaurav Gandhi, Mlabs and Mr. Pranav, Analytics Vidhya.

Emphasizing that AI-driven strategies need to be developed by our country for social welfare, Dr. Neeta Verma, DG, NIC, Government of India said, “An inclusive growth of our country is required. We can’t let AI be just a privilege to the elite, it should include people from all spheres. Look at healthcare in India. There is a lack of access to healthcare and quality healthcare. The problem is not that these facilities are not available in remote areas, but it is that doctors don’t want to go to such areas. AI can assist doctors – whether it’s robotic heart surgery that we saw last week in Gujarat or early diabetic detection. Agriculture, Education and Smart Cities are some of the other areas vital to India’s development.”

Mr. Deo added, “Rather than a threat, AI can be an opportunity. The engineering graduates can develop new spheres using technology and Artificial Intelligence, which in turn can create new jobs.”

Dr. Narendra Jadhav, MP, Rajya Sabha in his remarks mentioned the importance of cross-border data flows and provided some key statistics. “The cross-border data flows has increased 45 times between 2004 and 2014. In 2014 only, they accounted for US $2.8 trillion in GDP and hence, cross-border data flows are important for the development of Industry 4.0.” He further stated, “Moving forward, trade agreements would hold the key to cross-border data flows. For data privacy and security, there needs to be a stakeholder consultation and anonymization of data must be done to protect citizen’s identity.”

Kindly find the link to the paper here- Intersection of AI with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy

About The Dialogue

The Dialogue is an emerging public-policy think-tank with a vision to drive a progressive narrative in India’s policy discourse. Founded in 2017, we believe in facilitating well-researched policy debates at various levels to help develop a more informed citizenry, on areas around technology, strategic affairs, sustainability and development issues.

Our aim is to enable a more coherent policy discourse in India backed by evidence and layered with the passion to transform India’s growth, to help inform on public-policies, analyze the impact of governance and subsequently, develop robust solutions to tackle our challenges and capitalize on our opportunities. To achieve our objectives, we deploy a multi-stakeholder approach and work with Government, academia, civil-society, industry and other important stakeholders.

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