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Securing the data-driven age

Securing the data-driven age

In the era of technology, drafting regulations to govern them is perhaps the kind of safeguards we ought to realise. Technology along with good intent has been a boon for mankind. Today we are environed by technology, misuse of which can have deleterious effects on our present and future. Policies around technologies, which have the potential to become detrimental to us in the wrong hands, are necessary. The bank-related frauds that have cautioned account holders of deceit regarding their accounts and cards are a kind of example of misusing technology for detrimental purposes. Online transactions, account management and bank affairs are one set of safeguards that we require – which have been proactively provided by banks in the form of information and measures to stay secure – for our security. But since we now have more data which can be stolen or misused, there ought to be more safeguards to protect ourselves. In the age of cyber advancement, cybersecurity becomes utterly important. With India emerging as the second country with most-Internet access, protection of data has risen to be a priority. Not just personal data but institutional, governmental, intelligence, et al. Data today drives the world and internet is pervasive. And, things which drive the world – money and now data – will always be lucrative for those with malice intent. It is this inevitable situation of data protection that urges governments and institutions to bring up security measures. The government plays a crucial part in data protection and cybersecurity. It has the capacity to govern the internet – which drives data across interfaces – through a robust framework which will act as a regulator. In this regard, NITI Aayog's efforts to draft a policy on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity take a leap towards the next step of protecting and regulating data technology. Fiction novels and movies show how data in future can be as priceless as identity. Not to say that it is the case today but we are not far from that. Right from the Aadhaar Card which has our biometrics to our profiles on social networking websites which house our personal information; data is vulnerable. Of course, there are safeguards but those have been breached and it is, therefore, in public interest to build a framework and draft legislation which governs it, and directly, not pseudo governance through existing legislatures regarding technology. India has embarked on the path of digitisation and comprehensive digitisation is underway. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are two parts which need to be explored under this proposed security draft. With the advent of AI and ML, cybersecurity is headed for paradigm changes and NITI Aayog's attempt to cook policies regarding those is a step in the right direction. Developing centres of excellence in AI and ML across the country will not only empower research along those but also train professionals and increase competencies. Considering how AI and ML are part of the next revolution in technology and industry, it is crucial to harness benefits from developing both, that too indigenously, while providing a safe environment for its application. This will create capacity for skilled labour and operators, increasing employability – a major concern for India right now. Apart from industrial training and general research, AI and ML should also be taught to students in universities on a grand scale to create a technically-proficient pool which will be instrumental to the AI and ML market.

Cybersecurity is one aspect of growing technology. India must also look forward to setting up centres for developing these on a scale where it contributes to our net exports. Manufacture of technology-driven commodities will expand India's market and help India become a global player in the technology market. With this view in mind, the National Policy on Software Products – approved by the Cabinet earlier this year – aims to transform India from a net importer of software products into a net exporter. Skilling people in augmented reality (AR), AI, ML, etc., remains as important as safeguarding those in the collective interest of the nation. With the pace that India has portrayed in adopting digital payments, transition into AI and ML-driven lives is not a far cry. We must prepare, for the world is set to be all the more technological.

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