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Govt says Google, Facebook must plough back profits

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the G20 conference in Argentina said that it would be fair if social media giants reinvest their profits in largest markets to create more infrastructure and generate more job opportunities for the people.

Mail Today Bureau        Last Updated: August 27, 2018  | 09:26 IST
Govt says Google, Facebook must plough back profits

Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has made a strong pitch for profit generated by digital platforms such as Google, FaceBook and Twitter, from big markets such as India, being ploughed back to create more jobs in these countries.

According to an official statement issued on Sunday, the minister told the G20 conference at Salta in Argentina that the largest and most dynamic markets for digital services are in Asia, Latin America and Africa with India having one of the largest footprints of several popular social media and other digital platforms.

"It is only fair and just that the revenue and profit generated from these platforms be equitably reinvested in the largest markets to create more infrastructure and generate more job opportunities for the people there," Prasad said.

He articulated India's concerns about data protection and individual privacy and informed the meeting that India had already put in place stringent measures backed by laws passed by parliament.

Prasad said that privacy cannot prohibit innovation nor can privacy become the shield for the corrupt or terrorists. "We need data to improve business but the data must be anonymous, objective, and taken with consent," he added.

The minister said that India believed in internet access for all, adding that the Internet is one of the finest creations of the human mind, but it cannot be the monopoly of a few.

He highlighted the fact that India had taken a serious note of reported misuse of social media platform data. "Such platforms will never be allowed to abuse our election process for extraneous means," he said.

The Minister further said that the purity of the democratic process should never be compromised and that India will take all required steps to deter and punish those who seek to vitiate this process. India's views received wide appreciation and support from several delegations including the hosts Argentina, Germany and the EU.

Several other countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Indonesia and Japan expressed a keen desire to work with India in a range of IT and cyber related fields.

India also presented a non-paper at the meeting, held on August 23 to 24, listing its experience of using government platforms for inclusion and economic development, which was well received.

The G20 member nations agreed to promote policies that will contribute to bridging all forms of digital divide, with special attention to the digital gender divide.

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