Mobile Internet

Neo-Colonialism in the Internet age

India is a land of diversity and immense resources. It has a rich history and since the dawn of time, people from faraway places had a dream to gain control of this place. This dream came true for many foreign invaders as they came to India and ruled over it for many centuries on a trot. In ancient times, it was all about control over human resources and physical resources such as minerals, trade routes, military, spices, textiles etc. However, in the modern era, one commodity has gained importance beyond imagination and that is information in the form of data that is available on the internet. Large corporates and even countries as a whole are constantly demanding more and more control over data globally. The reason is that data gives anyone an edge over others. The future technology that is being invented is around the better use of data. Internet plays an important role as it helps connect the users with the data whenever and wherever they want or need.

A huge chunk of the global population uses the internet regularly and spend most of their time and resources over it. They have their personal and vital information uploaded on various websites and other platforms. Many of these websites have been accused of leaking information to various organizations in return for monetary or other benefits.

Indian consumer internet market is dominated by US giants such as Google and Facebook. The Indian government is concerned about the trend that points to neo-colonialism by the inter giants. After the US, now Chinese internet giants are seeping into the world’s fastest growing internet consuming market. Indian smartphone market along with the data consumption has shot through the roof as the costs have significantly come down. Consumers are using up a lot more data through the American and Chinese platforms.

The ruling government’s intention is in line with the EU style policy that restricts uncontrolled access to the huge Indian market. The US companies will be facing tougher times as soon as the new rules are in place. The government’s intentions are towards making the Indian users’ data more secure and less prone to misuse. The EU passed the GDPR to protect the EU citizens’ data and let them have more control over what data is shared with the companies.

Indian consumers, in the past, have been subject to numerous cases of misuses. The consumer data is at risk, especially of a high potential growing Indian internet market. The rate at which Indians are turning towards an online and digital ecosystem in their daily life, the security is extremely important.

Indian market and the economy as a whole has always been very interesting especially due to the fact that it does not follow any model blindly and tends to take the good points from a few systems and make a customized model for the complex Indian market. On one hand, the US market is extremely free and on the other hand, the Chinese market is extremely closed and most of the US-based internet giants are blocked out from entering China. The tight control of the Chinese government on the internet of China has allowed the homegrown companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu to become internet giants and move overseas for capturing new markets. The Indian government wants to do something in line with the Chinese system but it also does not want complete closure of the US companies in India.

Whatever the case may be, the Indian market has been extremely fast-paced and the internet companies are gaining a lot from here. Indian companies need to come up with new products and services to cater to the ever-growing needs of the 500 million internet users in the country. The government also needs to formulate policies that favour the Indian companies but should not completely block out the foreign companies because India is the largest democracy after all.

-Soumya De

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