dialogue

dialogueDecember 16, 2018
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11min1200

The Dialogue delivered a conference on AI, Privacy and Cross-Border data flows and also released a Working Paper titled “Intersection of Artificial Intelligence with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy”, at the Constitution Club of India.

The findings of the paper suggest that privacy can complement innovation in AI along with the fact that cross-border flow of data is imperative to drive AI growth in the future. Every day, large amounts of data flow course through the internet, over borders to power technologies that is leveraged for AI development and deployment. This data may originate from many sources located in multiple jurisdictions, making it imperative that data can move freely across borders. At the same time, with rising data collection and storage, doctrinal notions around ‘consent’ and ‘privacy notices’ should be considered. Privacy by design techniques can be incorporated at the level of privacy notices but also at each level of information flow till its storage and processing stage.

Founding Director of The Dialogue, Mr. Kazim Rizvi, stated, “This paper addresses two key challenges – enabling cross-border data flows to drive AI and ensuring that high-level privacy standards are complied with for AI deployment. For India to emerge as a leader in AI, it is crucial to harness its potential while maintaining privacy of citizens, while at the same time, we must ensure that data is allowed to flow across borders to give our technologists, scientists, engineers and developers the best possible opportunity to leverage AI for India’s development.”

The discussion in the conference revolved around the value of data for AI, importance for cross-border data flows, the ethical, legal and privacy aspects around AI deployment and a policy framework going forward. The discussions from the conference will be inputted towards the completion of the working paper for final publication in January.

The keynote address were given by Mr. Kalikesh Singh Deo, MP Lok Sabha and Dr. Neeta Verma, Director-General, National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, while Dr. Narendra Jadhav, MP Rajya Sabha, gave the valedictory remarks.

Other officials from the government included Dr. Avik Sarkar, NITI Aayog and Mr. Atul Tripathi. The conference saw participation from industry such as Ms. Bishakha Bhattacharya, IBM, Mr. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, BSA Software Alliance, Ms. Anubhuti Bhrany, HP, as well as civil-society professionals such as Mr. Saikat Datta, Asia Times, Mr. Naman Aggarwal, Access Now, Mr. Apar Gupta, Internet Freedom, Mr. Amol Kulkarni, CUTS International, Mr. Rahul Sharma, IAPP, Ms. Gunja Kapoor from Pahle India Foundation, Mr. Adnan Ansari, 9.9 Insights, Ms. Anulekha Nandi, Digital Empowerment Foundation and Mr. Harsh Bajpai, The Dialogue. The event witnessed a strong participation from the legal community comprising of Ms. Meenu Chandra, Adyopant Legal, Mr. Prasanna S, Independent Lawyer, Ms. Pritka Kumar and Mr. Kushan Chakraborty from Cornellia Chambers, Ms. Arya Tripathi, PSA Legal and Mr. Aaron Kamath, Nishith Desai Associates.

The tech community saw participation from Dr. Gaurav Gandhi, Mlabs and Mr. Pranav, Analytics Vidhya.

Dr. Neeta Verma, DG, NIC, Government of India stated that AI-driven strategies needs to be developed by our country for social welfare. “An inclusive growth of our country is required. We can’t let AI be just a privilege to the elite, it should include people from all spheres. Look at healthcare in India. There is a lack of access to healthcare and quality healthcare. The problem is not that these facilities are not available in remote areas, but it is that doctors don’t want to go to such areas. AI can assist doctors – whether it’s robotic heart surgery that we saw last week in Gujarat or early diabetic detection. Agriculture, Education and Smart Cities are some of the other areas vital to India’s development.”

Mr. Deo added, “Rather than a threat, AI can be an opportunity. The engineering graduates can develop new spheres using technology and Artificial Intelligence, which in turn can create new jobs”.

The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on Value of Data to AI and Innovation that was moderated by Ms. Meenu Chandral. The panelists included Dr. Avik Sarkar, Mr. Apar Gupta, Mr. Gaurav Gandhi, Ms. Gunja Kapoor.

The panel focused on identifying the importance of data for AI and the innovation it can drive in the future. Another key discussion that came out of this panel was the value proposition of data. When is the data really valuable? When it comes to big data, analytics and AI, the value does not come from collecting the data, or even from deriving some insight from it — value comes from just one thing: action.

Ms. Chandra mentioned how the value of data is not only monetary value. Kicking off the discussions, Dr. Avik Sarkar talked about data in the Indian context. He further explained the variety of big data – Speech datasets, Imagenet, Textual Data. But what remains to be seen is these diverse datasets in our local context. For example, datasets of indic languages can benefit both the organization and the consumer.

Apar Gupta said, “Data that is used for the prescriptive or predictive algorithms; 1. Data needs to be checked and 2. Inherent biases needs to be verified”. Gunja Kapoor talked about the data protection bill and how international trade agreements, MLATs and Track One Diplomacy hold key for an ideal cross-border data flow regime.

The second panel discussion on Cross-Border Data Flow fundamental to AI growth was moderated by Ms. Anubhuti Kaul Bhrany. The panelists included Mr. Rahul Sharma, Mr. Amol Kulkarni, Ms. Bishakha Bhattacharya, Ms. Pritika Kumar and Mr. Kazim Rizvi.

Giving the panel a technology perspective, Ms. Bishakha Bhattacharya of IBM stated, “There needs to be checks and balances to process AI-related solutions. An overhaul framework where not only performance and accuracy is tested but questions of biases are responded”.

The third panel dealt with Ethical and Legal Challenges around AI Deployment. It was moderated by Mr. Kushan Chakraborty. The panelists, mostly from the legal fraternity, held discussions around AI ethics and the “legality” of AI.  “It’s a paradoxical situation”, says Ms. Arya Tripathi, PSA Legal.

A key focus was whether AI entities could be considered under law, though it ticks on communication, goal-driven and creativeness factor.

Mr. Naman Aggarwal of Access Now said, “Technology is a value neutral paradigm. We first have to provide value to technology and only then we can start talking about giving “human rights” to AI.”

The final panel was moderated by Mr. Adnan Ansari. It was based on the theme of Policy Framework to Facilitate AI’s Success – Restrictive Vs. Expansive. This panel discussion debated which methodology is essential while creating a policy framework around AI and whether the success of AI depends on it being restrictive or expansive.

Dr. Narendra Jadhav, MP, Rajya Sabha in his valedictory remarks highlighted the importance of cross-border data flows and provided some key statistics.“The cross-border data flows has increased 45 times between 2004 and 2014. In 2014 only, they accounted for US $2.8 trillion in GDP and hence, cross-border data flows are important for the development of Industry 4.0”. He further stated, “Moving forward, trade agreements would hold the key to cross-border data flows. For data privacy and security, there needs to be a stakeholder consultation and anonymization of data must be done to protect citizens identity.”

Kindly find the link to the working paper here – Intersection of AI with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy


dialogueDecember 14, 2018
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5min2010

The Dialogue, an emerging public-policy think tank, today delivered a conference on the AI, Privacy and Cross-Border data flows and also released a Working Paper titled “Intersection of Artificial Intelligence with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy”, here at Constitution Club of India. The conference saw participation from more than twenty speakers from law, technical and policy backgrounds. The findings of the paper suggest that the growth in the number of connected devices is fueling data-driven innovations that have helped humanity solve our challenges and drive prosperity. Data is going to drive the economies of the future, and in a data-driven regime, the idea of privacy takes center stage to protect the interest of consumers and citizens alike. Cloud computing services are providing secure, cost-effective, and scalable ways for companies to access and analyze this data, which is critical for AI and other data-driven techniques that empower consumers and workers, make businesses more agile and competitive and boost the competitiveness.

Kazim Rizvi, Founding Director of The Dialogue, stated:

“This paper addresses two key challenges – enabling cross-border data flows to drive AI and ensuring that high-level privacy standards are complied with during the deployment of machine learning technologies. For India to emerge as a leader in AI, it is crucial to meet both these challenges, which have been addressed in detail in the paper. It is indeed possible to harness the potential of AI while maintaining privacy of citizens, while at the same time, we must ensure that data is allowed to flow across borders to give our technologists, scientists, engineers and developers the best possible opportunity to leverage AI for India’s development.”

The insights generated from predictive analytics through machine learning tools are possible because of access to a significant amount of data. The AI algorithm learns from all the data it has available. Analytics analysis these sets to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and new insights. It helps business to stay competitive by making smarter choices, enhance efficiency and subsequently improve productivity, which leads to higher profits and market capitalization. In order to achieve this, organizations must be able to collect data from across regions to achieve a complete picture of their operations. Every day, large amounts of data flow course through the internet, over borders and between individuals, firms, and governments to power the internet and associated technologies. This data may originate from many sources located in multiple jurisdictions, making it imperative that data can move freely across borders.

Privacy by design techniques should also be incorporated due to the ubiquity of data collection policies. With rising data collection and storage, doctrinal notions around ‘consent’ and ‘privacy notices’ should be considered. Privacy by design techniques can be incorporated at the level of privacy notices but also at each level of information flow till its storage and processing stage. Further notions of transparency, accountability, and fairness must be incorporated. While there can be no strict set of rules or policy guidelines which can bound an algorithm designer, but, best practices following constitutional standards jurisdiction-wise can be developed as a benchmark.

So for continued AI growth, it is fundamental that its deployed with ‘privacy by design’ in mind. Presently, we are still in the nascent stages, worldwide, of AI development, and this is the right time to ensure that AI technologies comply with global privacy laws. The answer to the question as to whether it is possible to use AI, and protect people’s data while doing so, is yes. It is both possible and necessary in order to safeguard fundamental personal data protection rights.

Kindly find the link to the paper here – Intersection of AI with Cross-Border Data Flow and Privacy


dialogueDecember 8, 2018
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10min2370

The Dialogue has launched its in-house study on the impact of data localisation policies, titled ‘Data Localisation in a Globalised World: An Indian Perspective’, at the Constitution Club of India.

The study argues that cross-border data flows are fundamental to the growth of the global economy. By examining different aspects of data localization such as security, costs, international approaches, and a sectoral analysis, the study concludes that localization is not a viable means to the end that it is designed for. Instead, there are better alternatives available to improve law enforcement and ease of access, which would accomplish the same results without necessarily compromising on the prospects of growth.

The report developed through primary and secondary data analysis has forecasted a loss of GDP upto 1 percentage points in the short and medium term if India goes ahead with forced data localisation in its current avatar. The report also suggests that localisation may cost an average Indian worker upto 11% of his/her salary.

A lot of interesting insights were generated from the discourse. The event featured speakers that ranged from lawyers, government stakeholders, academia, cybersecurity professionals, public policy think tanks and media houses.

The keynote speech was given by Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, AVSM, SM, VSM, CEO, Telecom Sector Skill Council of India, National Skill Development Corporation, Ministry of Skill Development, Government of India.

“There are two sets of the world – one is borderless and the other is border-limited. The borderless world is a globalized one. If we look at the factual data, it consists of Time and Space. In the borderless world, time has shrunk while the space has expanded (we can access any information through the internet in no time.) whereas in a border-limited world, although the time has shrunk, but the space still remains out of bound,” said Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar.

On Data Localisation, he outlines the lack of infrastructural capabilities in India. He raises some important questions on the sustainability of data localisation. He asks, “What are the things that are required for the government to achieve data localisation? There has to be a means to access and protect the data. Even if world-class data centers are put in place along with the best broadband capabilities, will it be able to persist the exponentially growing data generation? Can we guarantee a 24-hour power supply to these data centers? Do we have indigenously developed softwares and cybersecurity tools to secure the data?”

The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion on Data Localisation: Impact and Way Forward that was moderated by Mr. Kazim Rizvi, The Dialogue. The panelists included Mr. Saikat Dutta, Asia Times; Mr. Ananth Padmanabhan, Centre for Policy Research; Mr. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, BSA Software Alliance and Mr. Ashish Porwal, Hreem Legal.

The panel focused on three key areas where data localisation will have impact – Geopolitics, trade and policy analysis. The founding director of The Dialogue, Mr. Kazim Rizvi, in his press release stated, “For India to become a Vishwa Guru, we must follow the principles of a free-market economy. Our approach towards data should be to maximise the potential of cross-border data flows. Rather than deploying a strict hand of forcing companies to store data in India through forced localisation, we should instead incentivise them to come, locate and process their data here. Moreover, to seek access of data for law enforcement, we should work with other countries on a bilateral level and enhance our domestic privacy regime to meet global standards under international privacy frameworks. Now is the time to integrate more with the rest of the world and abandon protectionist policies that can hinder our long-term growth.”

Mr. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy of BSA Software Alliance started the panel discussions by pointing out how cross-border data flow is equally (if not more) an important topic while discussing data localisation. He says, “Will data localisation enhance security? Look at it from a consumer’s perspective. Localisation of data will lead to an increase in cost to the consumer”. He further gives an example of credit card transactions happening worldwide because of free encumbered cross-border data flow. “The credit card transaction happening in, for example, Singapore, is because of cross-border data exchange. Another example that could be taken is how cross-border data flow prevents cyber attacks originating in one part of the world. Through data sharing, these attacks can be identified.”

According to Mr. Krishnamoorthy, a major hindrance to data localisation is the fragmentation of data spread across the world.

Continuing the panel discussions, Mr. Ananth Padmanabhan of CPR says, “Data localisation is not a policy vs policy debate. It is a policy vs principle debate. In a globalized world, internet freedom has been tightly blended in every user. With the verdict on Aadhaar and Right To Privacy, there is a triple test before the State goes further in implementing localisation. The three points to keep in mind before implementing a regulation like this are: 1) Law, 2) Legitimate state claim, and 3) the least restrictive measures employed.”

Extending on the aforementioned points, Mr. Saikat Dutta, Asia Times spoke, “Data Localisation is like an onion ring. The more you peel, the more layers can be found. For an informed decision making, should we consider data localisation or metadata localisation?” He speaks about the concerns surrounding data localisation and its impact on trade and innovation, “Data Localisation will restrict competition and will curb innovation and innovative economy. Is it possible to create the next billion dollar company like Facebook with such a regulation is place? The answer is no.”

Mr. Ashish Porwal from Hreem Legal draws parallel between the Preamble and The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018. He states, “If privacy is a fundamental right, it means that the data principal should have a complete control over the data”. He points out the importance of an informed consent framework. He says that this discourse can also be interpreted differently. “Looking at it from a different perspective, in a way, The Bill is violating privacy.”

On MLATs and data sharing agreements, key outcomes from the discussion were reforms needed; both structural and contractual. Mr. Dutta says, “MLATs have gotten better in the past one year. If we see, the majority of MLATs signed in the world are with the US. The understanding between our (Indian) authorities and US has improved. India should actively participate in global discourse and discussions arising from the Budapest Convention.” He recommends having permanent officials who would work just towards MLATs and data access. Mr. Kazim Rizvi intervenes and states how the TRAI consultation paper has completely done away with data localisation and instead focused on data sharing agreements under CLOUD Act. Extending the points on MLATs, Mr. Ashish recommends structuring the whole process of drawing out MLATs and accessing the data. “If we read the current MLATs, there are no specific timeline on getting the data back to the LEAs. Also, there is no specific authority that can be held accountable.”

Kindly click below to view the study:

Data Localisation in a Globalised World



About us

India is marred with a complex social, economic and political structure, which requires innovative solutions to solve the most difficult problems of today. India is also a land of opportunities despite its challenges, mainly due to its demographic dividend and cultural diversity. The Dialogue is founded with the vision of harnessing the opportunities present in India today by reinventing the policy and political discourse in order to drive a forward looking narrative for the country.