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With Zoom and Skype being the new boardroom and coffee shop in town, there is a lot of concern over data security. With this in mind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a contest for people to create apps. The winning app would be governmentfunded. These would be homegrown apps, which means they will be regulated by the security parameters as per stated by our own country and open to outsiders. Hence the data will be secure and can’t be acquired by any foreign party. Pre-lockdown too, the issue of data security had made way to every drawing room conversation post the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. It was an eye opener for the layman, who now knew how his data was being used to condition his mind.

Questions around the US election being rigged in the 2016 polls started to make waves. As security concerns mounted, Facebook share prices fell by 17%. This made many realise that data needed to be seen as an unseen asset. It was the new oil. What all can data do? From making you win elections, start wars, overthrow dictators, it has the power to sell any narrative it wants to, making you believe that you need a comb even if you are bald. All depends on the way data is played. Politically, it can make or break an opponent as we saw during the 2014 polls with PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi respectively. That is the power of data. At a time when the world is facing a pandemic, technology rules. It is the new normal through which you work, connect and deliver, making it an essential tool for existence.

So, what do we need to do to secure ourselves? We need homegrown platforms which assure us data security. PM Modi in his address to the nation also said that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us to become self-dependent. It is true that we are faced with obstacles and problems but we need to keep moving forward with new energy, finding new ways to work, new ways to secure the country and keep it strong. There are two categories of homegrown platforms. One is the China model, which doesn’t use any foreign applications but these homegrown applications monitor all your activity. In this case, your data is not being exploited by a foreign party but your own country is monitoring you. On the other hand, some countries have homegrown apps where the security measures are transparent. That means they are encrypted as per government guidelines and are subject to regular data security audits. India now has the chance to make the choice. Promoting homegrown apps and platforms can help India secure its data. The size of our population has many drawbacks but it is a boom for data: 135.26 crores people — that number in itself is a data. Taking this advantage forward can help India save its data.

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