‘Indian Data Must Be Owned By Indians’, Mukesh Ambani Warns Against ‘Data Colonisation’ By Global CorporationsRIL Chairperson Mukesh Ambani. (Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Warning against ‘data colonisation’ by global corporations, Reliance India Limited (RIL) Chairperson Mukesh Ambani has urged the Indian government to ensure that Indian data is owned by Indians and not by foreign entities.

Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat summit, Ambani spoke of the need to critically examine policies as data represents an increasingly valuable commodity. "Data is a new oil and new wealth", Ambani has been quoted as saying.

“Gandhiji led India’s movement against political colonisation. Today, we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonisation,” he added.

Ambani also called Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi as a globally acknowledged ‘man of action’ and urged that the fighting colonisation of Indian data should be treated as among the principal goals of ‘Digital India’ mission.

Data Colonisation?

‘No human is an island’. The phrase, originating several centuries back, rings truer than ever with a rapidly growing ‘web’ of services built on the Internet. And with its increasing reach, Internet is touching more Indian lives than ever before. And consequently, Indians are generating more data than ever.

This data represents who we are as individuals. How so? Google knows where you go, what you do, what you buy, what news and web content you consume; Amazon knows what you buy, where you live, what your monthly discretionary spend may be, and how you entertain yourself every month; Uber knows where you travel and how frequently, which locality you live and work in, and, increasingly, what you may order online for food. And so on.

As with the early colonialists, who entered other countries with primarily commercial interests in mind, we do not know what plans these tech giants have for us. However, as the earlier colonial experience has shown, the road from commercial to political control is not a very long one.

Tech colonisation can easily facilitate the use of Indian customer data that is already with the global tech companies for influencing our political destinies.

Read More: Can India Defeat Tech Colonisation?

Colonialism 2.0 — Truly

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