So we are developing IFF’s response to a consultation paper that the Government of India has released towards a national strategy for national open digital ecosystems (NODE). If interested you can read the consultation paper here, and submit your own suggestions here.
This consultation re-inforces the Government’s aim of comodofying data and the leveraging it as a trigger for innovation or economic development. Also it happens to take place with little alignment of first order questions like data protection obligations, privacy safeguards, what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to the use of data. IFF’s response will address some of these express concerns but getting a sense that there is a need for us to consider us starting a dialogue on what is a sensible characterisation of data (given its many dimensions) which nonethless does not compromise people’s agency, autonomy, fundamental freedoms and rights like their right to privacy.
Will share relevant literature as I go about my process. However, if any of you come across some readings which are relevant please feel free to share. Also would encourage you to independently write to the Government on what you think must be done to improve the current approach.
While working on our response I thought it was important to appreciate the nature of risks which may come about if vast cross-sectoral monopolies are established in different digital ecosystems. The likelihood of that happening is increasingly likely if the Government goes down the path of a top-down approach which basically embodies an ethos of social darwinism when building strategies of future public digital infrastructures.
If the public does not have a clear alternative ask, such consultations may enable the market/regulatory capture of select players who are already in the background developing many of these tools/infrastructure and looking to get government endorsement through consultations and processes like this.
I believe it is important for us to start engaging and forming a sort of common vocabulary for us to mobilise a counter approach or framework, for the government to consider. As a first step, if people are interested, I would recommend checking out this book by Tim Wu (who some of you may recall birthed the net neutrality movement as well). It’s called The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the Guilded Age", Just providing a link to the book here, and would suggest people check it out if they have the time. It’s a tiny volume and can be read in like half a day if one is interested.