Taming the dragon-Part-3

By Siddharth Goenka published on July 1, 2020
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed here are the author's own.

“Data is the new oil” Clive Humby

This article is the continuation ofTaming the dragon- Part 2

In the year 2018 Chinese President Xi XIngping gave a speech outlinging his governments strategy to become the global cyber super power, portions of that speech are available with state controlled Xinhua, in this speech he said  “A new cyberspace governance network and an internet would be set up which would spread positive information, uphold the correct political direction and guide public opinion and values to the right direction” If this speech had been given by say a certain Mr Donald Trump or Mr Narendra Modi the world media would have gone hysterical but since this was made by the Chinese president most of the global media houses who are somewhat in contact with the leftist ecosystem did not raise much of a hue or cry over it.

The Chinese president in his speech clearly spells out the Communist parties’ intention of controlling data the Chinese people are generating through snooping of its own people and then using that data to create narratives and controlling people’s minds.

An evil regime has taken shape in Beijing, this regime requires all foreign and domestic tech companies to store data within China’s borders, and this move allows the Chinese government to access personal data of their population as they please. They have come up with an imitative called ‘China police cloud’ the government uses this initiative to monitor and track everybody it views as a threat to its authority they are using artificial intelligence to monitor whether an individual is well behaved or not, parameters for this good behaviour is described by government officials those who do not fall in the well behaved category face hurdles in applying for jobs, getting loans, getting their children admitted to school. By most accounts coming out of China today’s regime is the most authoritarian regime China has seen since the days of Mao Zedong and history has witnessed what this sort of power based in a single person or party does, it causes destruction. The disasters of the Cultural Revolution and great leap forward are shining examples of what concentration of absolute power in an individual does.

China and India’s start up ecosystem.

China over the years has created significant place for itself in India’s start up space, realizing there is stiff opposition to One belt one road project in India they have diverted their attention to India’s digital infrastructure rather than physical infrastructure their interest in 5G with Huawei aggressively pushing for our 5G market is a clear indicator of their intent . It is estimated that over 4 bn USD has been poured into our start up space in the last few years. A lot of this money has gone into strategic assests such as Paytm. 18 of India’s 30 unicorns carry Chinese footprint as of today. The quantum of investment into India may seem very small compared to the size of India’s FDI received but we must bear in mind the impact of this investment given the ever growing tech penetration in India. On deeper inspection we find the size of every single Chinese investment is not very large which means alarm bells generally do not rise very fast over these investments, this is the modus operandi China has used over the years.

Indian data in Chinese hands-

India is one of the fastest growing markets for digital consumers and this governments Digital India push has led to India having more than 600 million internet users as of todayConsidering what the Chinese government is doing with the data of its own citizens we need to be very careful with our data going into their hands.  Today Alibaba group has substantial holding of a company like Paytm. Paytm being a fintech app has access to a lot of its user’s data. Are we comfortable with that data being in the hand of Chinese masters especially during sensitive times like today where our army is at loggerheads with the Chinese army in Galwan valley. The United States government has already banned the Chinese from owning app’s which it considers may be a security risk. An app called Grindr which helps the LGBT community find dates has been told to divest itself of all Chinese stake by 2020 as American govenrment worries that this sensitive data may be used by the Chinese government to honey trap susceptible people.

Banning of 50 apps including Tik Tok-

Indian government has taken a firm stand by banning 59 Chinese apps. This step will help in data protection to a great deal. Recent media reports have suggested that Tik Tok was accessing devices of its users and was also checking content even when the app was not in use, Tik Tok has officially given a statement that it will stop these practices but trusting them at this juncture seems very difficult. This move will also help in creating home grown apps which will in turn help make our country “Atmanirbhar’

All in all this is a very good move by the government but there is a lot that still needs to be done decoupling of India’s tech space with Chinese money cannot be a gradual process it has to be abrupt. A clear disruption is needed to stop the flow of Chinese money in our start up eco system to protect the 21st century’s oil-‘Data’

 

Siddharth Goenka is an ardent Hindu nationalist who has studied at Bishop cotton boys school in bangalore and then at Aston university in Birmingham. He has worked in the field of finance with JM Morgan Stanley in Mumbai, he is an entrepreneur who has nurtured many successful ventures like kesariya restaurants and banquet, A successful dairy and an apparel company, he conceptualised his LPG Mukta gav abhiyaan this abhiyaan helps the farmer become energy independent, he is currently working on natural farming techniques to help farmers grow their produce without usage of chemicals and pesticides, currently co-chair of campus confluence, he is also an office bearer with BJP Karnataka.

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