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How the government is trying to control Big Tech

GS Paper 3

Syllabus Science and Technology/ Internal Security/Governance


Source : Indian Express

Directions: Although the article was big, only important points are being provided here. You can use it for value addition.

How government is trying to control BigTech?

  • Draft telecom bill: it proposes to bring OTT communication platforms under its ambit, subjecting them to rules similar to those governing telecom operators, including licencing.
  • By putting Caps on market shares of payment platforms
  • Personal data protection bill: proposed data localisation norms are guided by the desire to exercise greater control over cross-border data flows.
    • Increasing data storage requirements and imposing strict restrictions would only increase the compliance burden of Big Tech.
  • Provisions of the e-commerce bill: seem to have been drafted to shield domestic players, while handicapping foreign-owned e-commerce platforms.
    • Fall-back liability clauses for instance or the imposition of restrictions on flash sales are all meant to restrict the operations of foreign-owned platforms.

Concern regarding government regulations:

  • Inefficiency in the market: It could well lead to an era of inefficient, uncompetitive goods and services.
  • It goes Against the government stated desire to build and nurture a vibrant digital economy.
  • Wrong precedent: Continuing with this approach would be a mistake esp. given India needs investment.
  • Will hurt consumers at last as services may be restricted by Big Tech, following government regulations.


Thus, by imposing such onerous regulations, these bills seek to tilt the balance of power rather than create a level playing field. And in all of this, a few domestic players stand to benefit the most.

Prelims link

  • What are Big tech?
  • Privacy and Data protection laws of India
  • What is big data?

Mains Links:

Q. Social media needs regulations but not to the extent that it is difficult for them to do business in India. Comment. (10M)