Review of Book- “Data Sovereignty- The Pursuit of Supremacy”

Authors –

1. Lt. Gen. V.M Patil, AVSM, PVSM (Retd)
2. Lt. Gen Dr. D.B. Shekatkar , AVSM, PVSM (Retd)
3. Shri Vinit Goenka, Secretary, Center for Knowledge Sovereignty (CKS); Member Governing Council –CRIS, Ministry of Railways, Government of India.
4. Lt. Gen Vinod Bhatia, PVSM, AVSM, SM (Retd), Former Director General Military Operations
5. Lt. Gen Vinod Khandare, PVSM, AVSM, SM,(Retd), Former Director General, Defense Intelligence Agency
6. Shri Jayadeva Ranade, President, Centre for China Analysis and Strategy
7. Shri Bharat Panchal, SVP & Head – Risk Management at National Payments Corporation of India

Publishers: Penmanboks

In the book, the authors have highlighted the need for gaining supremacy over the data being generated and used by the Indian economy. The authors argue that the government and other stakeholders must act fast to ensure that India becomes one of the world leaders in implementation and use of new IT technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Robotics, Machine Learning etc.

The book stresses the importance of acting fast to protect the country from becoming vulnerable to miss-use of data; with help of strong regulatory mechanisms and rules on data protection.
According to the authors, it is important to use the data wisely and not to allow external parties to get hold of the critical data. In India’s growth story, Information Technology (IT) has a very important role. Indian’s are leading in expertise on IT and our engineers are most valued in USA’s Silicon Valley. India is also a substantial consumer of digital data with its data consumption set to increase from 0.6 zettabytes in 2013 to 6 zettabytes in 2020.

India has tremendous potential as generator and consumer of data. However, there is a need to consolidate and adopt stricter norms for data security and privacy. WE also need to strengthen regulatory frameworks for secure use of data. This is critical for both private as well as public/government sector.

In the book, the authors have attempted to lay down all the factors that are preventing “market forces to play their due role”. The main factors highlighted by them are – weak regulatory policies, scarcity of resources, challenges of network bandwidth, risk and management of natural disasters etc.

The authors opine that the pursuit of Supremacy simply means the desire to control or dominate over what is our as well as what is NOT ours. This is not necessarily of dictatorial nature. Anyone who is desirous of becoming popular or exerting his/her will over others is also craving domination of some kind.

According to the authors, the ‘Colonization’ that happened throughout the world was nothing, but control of weaker countries by dominant countries or powers. It happened mainly for economic reasons through military powers, through which the powerful countries were able to rule on the weaker countries. British’s conquest of India is an example in this regard. Some countries who saw the threats from invaders early on and acted proactively, could save itself from attacks from enemies like – Building the ‘Great Wall of China’ saved it from invaders.

After military way of colonization and dominance, the other form was – control of oil and energy sources. This can be regarded as – Energy Colonization. To control oil resources, it was either done by oil producing countries, creating cartels or colonization of oil producing countries. E.g Libya, Iraq etc. Besides, the ‘control of oil’ is a constant source of conflicts in the Middle Eastern region.

After oil, the next source of power is DATA in the 21st century. With data becoming a source for economic dominance in the globalized world, now the powerful nations are moving towards – Data Colonization. With advent of digital era, unimaginable amounts of data is being generated every second.

This is called Big Data. This is being generated through social media platforms, digitization of records, e-commerce and digitization of books and all published material. This Big data holds immense power as the companies analyse this data for economic gains through internal and external trade. This data is also being increasingly miss-used, thereby putting to threat peoples and well as country’s security interests. Cyber-crimes and cyber security has become a big issue when hacking of websites becomes possible.

The data is also be miss-used as fake news, fake stories and twisted facts are put before the people to miss-guide and enslave them.

In order to protect the nations and its people’s interests, it is very important that pro-active measures are taken against these threats. Already the advanced countries have an edge over the developing ones, as they possess the latest technologies. The authors cite the above factors as critical in ensuring that India does not lag behind in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 but becomes one of the leaders of the technology revolution.

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