“It has been fairly obvious to most people that big tech platforms have been using technology to game the system and consumers both, and have evaded scrutiny by constantly covering themselves with innovations,” Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, told The Indian Express. Innovation is important; the government will continue to encourage an innovation ecosystem, but it will put in place laws and rules to ensure that the internet is open, safe, trusted and accountable, the minister said.
“This is even more important in India because we have 80 crore Indians using the internet and in another two-and-a-half years, 120 crore Indians will be using the internet and technology platforms. Therefore, it is important that we ensure that the internet is safe and trusted and accountable for all these consumers,” he said.
An investigation by The Indian Express, in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed that Uber had used stealth technology to bypass regulators, tapped into the lobbying network, and aggressively cut corners as it drove through loopholes in law and regulation.
The minister said it was “disturbing that the big tech platforms have used technology and innovations to evade scrutiny and bypass laws.” He said stricter rules will be put in place. “In the future, within new rules and laws, the opportunity of big tech platforms to violate Indian laws or do something illegal such as this will narrow considerably,” Chandrasekhar said.
The new laws would have “penalising” provisions to ensure that such platforms are accountable” and protect the interests of digital nagriks, sources in the government said.
“As the number of Indians using the internet grows and the digital economy thrives, the policy objectives of the government are extremely clear. The laws and rules will ensure that the internet remains open, it is safe and trusted, and the internet and tech platforms are accountable to Indian digital consumers. The recent steps taken by the government including cyber security directions, new IT rules, and a proposed new digital law are aimed at ensuring these objectives for the citizens and users,” Chandrasekhar said.