Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday said “data colonisation” is as bad as previous forms of colonisation and India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indians.
Speaking at Republic Summit here, Ambani, who is chairman of energy-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd, said data of an individual or business belongs to them and not to corporates who could use it to monetise from them.
“In this new world, data is the new oil. And data is the new wealth. India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporates, especially global corporations,” he said.
A genuine concern. Since we all know that a large amount of data is being generated every second. Gone are the days when data generation was limited to computers only. Nowadays, everything digital contains immense data which can be used to influence masses. Controlling data is the key for controlling society.
Why data colonization is a concern? Take this example of Facebook. Although it is not a country, the American company holds data, including personal and private information, of more than 150 million Indians. In this sense, India could very well be a colony of the popular social networking site, which not only holds our personal information but also tracks our daily routine, habits, behaviour, and communication. This extent of information about 150 million Indians is enough to help the social networking giant influence decisions, both democratic and consumerist, taken by individuals. All this is already visible today. Facebook is influencing individual choices when it comes to what product they are buying next or which party will they vote for. And that is the reason why it is among the top 10 companies in the world.
Companies are investing in emerging technologies like cloud computing, data science, machine learning, etc. to influence and study the data generated and use it on their commands. Influencing, conquering and then controlling are the steps of colonization as well as the strategy of IT companies.