DailyPost 830


The supersonic pace of technology from Pentium 1 processor to Artificial Intelligence is the fastest human civilization has experienced. On the face of it, we have tried to move in tandem but in reality it has not happened. If just the skin is peeled off, digital governance, regulatory mechanism and compliance has not even reached the nascent stage. The world is shared between the Internet operational protocols and policies and operations of the Social Media and other IT giants. The all supreme governments have become pawns in the global digital chess game. He who owns the data, owns the East India Company and by an extended logic, rules the jurisdiction as well.

Commercial operations and commensurate taxation is completely unheard in the IT MNC world. While you get the benefits of favorable tax regime in Ireland, you remain untaxed in India even if one-fifth of the consumer base is located here. Online businesses with no offline taxation. How does a company of this nature operate in a country which is not of it’s origin? What laws can be there where the company’s main source is advertisements and the service is provided for free. We are still not ready to pause for a while from the super connected lives, to find a legal resolution of the mess we are in.

While we need permissions to congregate, go in a procession or put up hoardings, that too the permission comes with lots of conditions. It goes free for all in a nefarious manner in the cyber space. It cannot be a free space sans laws & regulations. Laws have to understand the full depth of the technology and its operations and has to happen with complete onboarding of the Internet regulatory authorities (technical side), and the predominant business interests, who have been able to ward off any regulatory control so far. A legal regime of a different age cannot reign in the digital dinosaurs; the Julian Assange’s, Snowden’s & Zuckerberg’s.

Legal authorities and governments making meek requests to IT companies would have an unimaginable proposition in a different day and age. The beauty is that they churn out a bounty for the same transaction (data), for which they are outside the pale of law. Double / triple jeopardy, difficult to comprehend.


Sanjay Sahay

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