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Amazon, Flipkart and others may pass their source code to Indian government for local startups

A report has stated that the e-commerce giants may have to make their source codes and algorithms available to the government.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | July 6, 2020 | Updated 16:58 IST
(Source: Reuters)


  • E-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart may have to give access to their source codes and algorithms to the government.
  • A new policy in the works will require these platforms to give seller data to the consumers, a report suggests.
  • The aim behind the policy is to reduce monopoly and dominance of the tech giants and give way to the local startups.

E-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Google may have to make their source codes and algorithms available to the government of India. Other than this, the e-commerce companies will also have to ascertain if they have explainable AI, or artificial intelligence in simple words.

As reported by Bloomberg which cites the 15-page policy drafted by the government, this has been in works for two years. The policy draft was prepared by the Ministry of Commerce's Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade. The aim behind the policy is to reduce the monopoly and dominance of the tech giants and give way to the local startups.

The idea behind the e-commerce policy is also to give the government a stronghold and access to oversee how companies handle consumer data.

"It is in the interest of the Indian consumer and the local ecosystem that there are more service providers" and that "the network effects do not lead to creation of digital monopolies misusing their dominant market position," Bloomberg quoted the policy draft.

As per the policy, the e-commerce platforms will also have to provide consumers the details of sellers, including phone numbers, customer complaint contacts, email, and addresses. Where imported goods are concerned, consumers will get details about the country of origin and value of work done in India.

The e-commerce companies will be given a window of 72 hours to present the government with information. The government may require e-commerce platforms to store their data locally as per the report.

There has been no official statement from the Indian government about this policy. However, it is likely to be released on the government's website as per the report.

The development was reported shortly after the government banned Chinese apps from India.

Last week, the government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat, BeautyPlus from India stating that the applications are engaged in activities "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order."

"There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to the sovereignty and security of our country," Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) in an official statement had said.

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