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Salesforce to firm up data localisation strategy in India after finalisation of data protection bill


Press Trust of India San Francisco
Cloud-enabled software firm Salesforce will wait for India's draft data protection bill to take a final shape, in order to firm up its strategy on aspects like data localisation, and will abide by the rules, a top India executive of the company has said.
"In any country in which we are doing work, we would definitely...look at supporting what the government is looking at, and we will figure out areas, ways and means to comply with that," Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President and Country Leader, at Salesforce India told PTI here.
A case in point is the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR (European Union's data privacy law), where the company has ensured that it is compliant with the framework.
"The amount to work we have got done in that part of the world is huge, and we are pretty much compliant with all the work which is being asked from our end," Jose said on the sidelines of the company's annual user conference 'Dreamforce'.
In India, the issue of data localisation has exposed a deep divide amongst the industry players -- many prominent US trade bodies whose members include tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft are reportedly opposing government's plans to mandate storing of data, locally.
While Paytm has been in favour of storing and processing critical data like payments within India, Google's stance has been to allow free flow of data.
As such, India's draft personal data protection bill recognises privacy as a fundamental right, and proposes "explicit consent" for processing sensitive personal information like religious or political belief, sexual orientation and biometric information.
The draft bill, for which the government is seeking public suggestions by September 30, also proposes to restrict and impose conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data.
"I think there is a huge debate...we would like to see where it gets settled and then work our way forward...," Jose added.
He noted that governments all over are taking long and considered approach on data protection rules, and engaging industry proactively in discussions.
"Any government that put together any bill will definitely give service providers enough time to work on their strategy," he noted.
He said that enterprise business focus meant that Salesforce will not get directly be impacted by personal data protection rules per se, but added that the data localisation aspects will require the firm to calibrate its strategy "at some point".
"We will have to do some work around it, for sure. So we need to know where it (the bill) lands up and when final decisions are taken by the government. And then we put our strategy together," he added.
Salesforce currently has datacentres in Japan and Australia.
Terming India's efforts to safeguard privacy as "a step in the right direction" in the backdrop of massive data consumption spurred by low-cost devices and affordable tariffs, Jose said that rules, while important, will not address every outstanding issue.
"I wouldn't think that the bill will take care of everything. It is about all of us who need to work though that in a systematic to what we do with the data and be open and transparent about it," Jose added.

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First Published: Sep 28 2018 | 10:25 AM IST

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