Does Data Localisation Measure Really Enhance Law Enforcement?

G. Mahith Vidyasagar, Advocate High Court of Andhra Pradesh.



The concept of data localization is a debatable subject globally India is no exception. Basically, data localization means adopting the measures to store the data pertaining to a country within the country itself. Data localization acts as a barrier to cross-border data flow which was the primary concern of many developed countries like the U.S and Japan. In recent times the debates around data localization raged across the world because not only authoritarian governments like China but also democratic countries like India also intend to adopt data localization for various reasons. However, the steps towards data localization by India, even supported by certain legitimate contentions, further raise certain legal questions pertaining to the data protection of the individuals. Those steps also question the technical feasibility of India. Recently the two initiatives of India towards data localization i.e. the provisions relating to data localization in the Data Protection Bill and, the RBI directive ordering for storing and processing of data relating to the payments sector gained global attention. The directive just mandated the storage and processing of data but it does not contain any guidelines in relation to that. The readiness for compliance with a policy is needed to check before going to adopt it. As far as the RBI directive is concerned it has been opined that it does not check the possibility of keeping up pace with that localization requirement.