New Delhi: Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani today came out strongly in favour of storing data locally and not putting it “especially" in the hands of foreigners. Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Gandhinagar in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ambani said there was a need to “collectively act against data colonization".

The three-day Vibrant Gujarat summit, mostly an annual jamboree organized by the state government to attract investments, started today.

Ambani said “we will have to migrate data" that had been stored abroad. He said data must be owned by individuals and not corporates, “especially not foreigners".

Ambani’s company Reliance Jio Infocomm has over 280 million mobile subscribers and thus would be privy to large amount of data.

Data localization is a sensitive issue the world over and more so in India, given that this is a country of 1.3 billion people with over 1 billion mobile users. With technology developing rapidly, more and more devices becoming smarter and the Internet of Things taking over, a genuine concern around leakage of private data has gained ground.

Europe has already taken steps to protect user data with a new law called General Data Protection Regulation. India, too, has taken steps to make sure data of its citizens is stored on servers located here and not abroad. This has met with stiff resistance from multinationals, often citing cost reasons and their laws as reasons for not keeping data here.

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