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Google CEO Sundar Pichai calls for borderless internet as question of data protection looms

Technology firms have been concerned that the government's drive to step up measures to boost local data storage will increase investment costs

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai calls for borderless internet as question of data protection looms
Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Google wants the Indian government to trust it with data and its security while promising to give people more control over how and when that data is used. Google needs to analyse and learn from a lot of data if users want its 'helpful' products to work properly. Google's new Assistant can now answer personalised questions and its Duplex for the web can use the stored information to carry out personal tasks. However, the Indian government's new data localisation norms have pitted it against the local Indian companies.

"Flow of cross-border data is as important for the global ambitions of companies from India as it is for Silicon Valley giants", Google CEO Sundar Pichai told The Times of India.

According to Sundar Pichai, Google shares and understands the concerns of the Indian government about protecting the privacy and security of its citizens. The search giant is giving new privacy tools and security features to its users to control their information. However, government's push to introduce data-localisation norms may compel it to alter its business model and force it to put an end to the value added services it offers. "We have to balance with benefits we all get from a shared internet, which works globally", Pichai said.

Earlier, India's Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he wanted Indians to have access to more technology platforms but said this should not undermine user privacy. "I have only one caveat - it must be safe and secure, it must safeguard the privacy rights of the individual and you must make extra efforts that people don't abuse the system," Prasad told industry executives at a gathering organised by Alphabet Inc's Google in New Delhi.

"I think it (privacy) is important. At Google, we have always viewed the privacy and security of our users as a fundamental value", Pichai said in response.

Technology firms have been concerned that the government's drive to step up measures to boost local data storage will increase investment costs.

Edited By: Udit Verma

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