RBI mandated that all payment data of Indians have to be stored in servers located only in India in order to provide “unfettered access” to regulators

In a meeting between Sundar Pichai and India’s union minister for electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Google chief has agreed to abide by the data localisation mandate of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to all payment service providers.  Google has however sought an extension of a couple of months to meet with the mandate that comes into force from October 15, said a top official of the ministry of electronics and IT who was present during the meeting that took place late last month.

“Google has agreed to abide by all the RBI requirements but has sought around two months extra to comply,” the official said.

In April, RBI mandated that all payment data of Indians have to be stored in servers located only in India in order to provide “unfettered access” to regulators. Companies were given six months to comply with the rule that has met with severe criticism from foreign payment firms. The deadline ends on October 15.

Google did not confirm the development but said it favours crossborder data flow as it made economic sense.

“We maintain that cross-border data flows today are ubiquitous and an essential phenomenon for global economic activity and universal access to information. Soaring data flows generate more economic value and hence the socioeconomic impact of restricting data flows must be thoroughly considered while framing any policy,” a Google spokesperson said in an email. “There is a need to find practical and contemporary solutions to policy issues in line with global best practices.”

The Justice BN Srikrishna committee on data protection too has recommended that a copy of all personal data has to be stored in India while all critical personal data has to be stored only in India. The ministry official said the government is still firming up its recommendations on storage of personal data after the Srikrishna committee submitted its report last month.

Google said last month that 22 million users had done 750 million transactions totalling up to $30 billion on its payments app, Google Tez (since renamed Google Pay), since its launch a year ago.  ET reported on Monday that Pichai in a letter to Prasad highlighted that the company favours free flow of cross-border data on the internet, emphasising on security and privacy of users.   “Free flow of data across borders —with a focus on user privacy and security —will encourage startups to innovate and expand globally and encourage global companies to contribute to India’s digital economy,” Pichai said.

Source: Economic Times India