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News: On 25 April, India and the European Union (EU) issued a joint press release on the launch of an EU- India Trade and Technology Council.
What is the significance?
The Council will promote cooperation between both jurisdictions on issues that lie at the intersection of trade, trusted technology and security.
It will augment avenues for greater market access for Indian technology companies in the EU.
It may prompt the percolation of European values and ethics into Indian rule-making on emerging technologies.
What are the issues in embracing the European Values wrt emerging technologies?
(A) Compliance burden: The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is based on the value of individual privacy. It works on a consent-based framework. It mandates for user consent before collection of data and processing data for an expressly-stated purpose.
– The GDPR has increased the compliance burden on technology businesses. It has prompted high rates of fatigue among European users. They are fed up with privacy notices and consent notices.
(B) Distortion of the competition: The EU’s newly-adopted Digital Markets Act (DMA): It works on the value of fair competition. Historically, European competition policy has placed restrictions on firms which are in dominant market positions.
– The restrictions imposed on the big business entities may actually “hinder or distort competition” in the European market. For example, the DMA primarily targets large technology companies in a bid to support the aspirations of smaller businesses and developers.
The EU has weaponized the important value of fair competition towards narrow and protectionist ends. For example, the EU does not have any large social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter of its own. Therefore, the EU policy on interoperability seek to weaken the position of US tech majors in Europe. It seems to be an industrial policy operating under the garb of fair competition.
Similarly, the EU policy can target Indian digital products that seek access to the EU markets in the future.
What are the areas where the EU-India Trade and Technology Council can be leveraged?
To ensure that our businesses are able to navigate an under-penetrated European market (15% of Indian software services exports enter in EU market).
To work while adhering to the common values like ethics in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.
The selection of the European values in rule making should be made in a manner not detrimental to the Indian businesses.
The Indian Personal Data Protection Bill should not catch-all frameworks prevalent across the world. It should adopt a nimble approach. It should protect individual privacy by targeting specific harms.
Source: The post is based on an article “India’s EU ties could pay off well if we take a discerning approach” published in the Live Mint on 28th Apr 22.