India’s Proposed eCommerce Rules Will Force Big Tech To Turn Over Data 

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India is making a move to tighten controls on big tech companies like Amazon and require them to turn over data and other requested information in a timely manner, Reuters reported on Friday (March 20), citing sources.

The policy being drafted by India’s trade ministry also calls for a new regulator to provide oversight and enforce compliance. The regulator will have the authority to request information from tech firms and also enforce other Indian laws aimed at consumer protection and fair competition, the sources said.

The move aligns with laws passed in 2019 that tech firms like Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart are having trouble complying with. It also coincides with increased eCommerce and other online traffic due to the coronavirus.

The sources also told Reuters that social media companies that capitalize on advertising and user data could also be impacted by the new rules. 

One of the policy rules requires that companies comply with information requests by law enforcement within three days, sources said.

Indian government officials have already met with some tech companies regarding the impending policy, a source said, declining to provide names.

Revenue from eCommerce is anticipated to hit $120 billion, which is three times the amount in 2017, according to India Brand Equity Foundation.

India has also been devising new rules regarding tech firms and data, and it is expected that the new regulator will outline what kind of eCommerce information companies will be required to store locally, according to a source.

The talks about online shopping data control is a “complex subject,” a senior trade ministry official told Reuters.

Japan proposed a bill last month that seeks greater transparency when deals are struck with big tech firms. The legislation mandates that Amazon, Google, Apple and others issue annual reports to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The new rules were expected to be enforced this month.