The Increasing Vulnerability of Data

Telecom, internet-infrastructure and connectivity form the foundation for a majority of the Government’s priority initiatives such as Digital India, Smart Cities Project, Cashless Economy, etc. India is set to establish its digital economy, and its lifeblood is data. For this reason, data security and privacy are growing concerns. Whether individuals or enterprises, everyone with a device or on a network is at risk.

Cyber Activity is Increasing

In the recent budget, it was established that the country will see increased efforts towards the success of artificial intelligence, Aadhar linking, and 5G adoption. The Government also pledged to invest heavily in robotics, big data, quantum computing and the Internet of things, doubling its allocation to Centres of Excellence under the Department of Science and Technology. The world’s second largest telecommunications market is estimated to grow rapidly, given the heavy influx of connectivity dependant technologies.

It is important to remember that as we get more and more connected, networks, infrastructure and devices are becoming more vulnerable. And any large data set stored in a single space is a virtual honey pot for cyber criminals that are actively looking for loopholes.

Data is Vulnerable, Hopes Pinned on Privacy Framework

Last year was a hallmark year in terms of data breaches. Globally, millions of people were affected as hackers stole information via phishing emails, watering hole attacks and ransomware. Businesses lost cash, reputation and sensitive information and individuals suffered due to breaches in bank accounts.

Such vulnerabilities can arise out of an inadequacy in in-house controls, or due to lack of awareness among citizens. From conducting transactions to e-banking, we carry our world with us in our mobile phones, and this alone makes privacy and security major concerns.

To combat this, governments and all other stakeholders including the industry and civil society are looking at newer norms of Data Privacy.  Even in countries where the right to privacy is not enshrined in the constitution, businesses are demanding a stronger, legal framework to protect the new oil – data. It is time that India, too, takes adequate steps towards creating a safe and secure cyberspace.

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