IBM says every country should worry about data sovereignty
Arvind, president and chief executive officer of IBM Inc., supports data localization. Speaking at a roundtable meeting with the media in the capital, he said he believed that data sovereignty is a serious matter that every country should worry about and formulate its own policies.He said that rules should be made for the use or misuse of personal information. But if someone wants to keep the highly encrypted data as a back-up copy elsewhere, that should be fine. This “must allow the free flow of data for commercial purposes, but without infringing on personal information and data sovereignty,” he said.
Asked whether personal information can be given to the government when demanded, he said there are two extreme models that can be followed: German and Chinese. The difficulty was in drawing a line, as demands for access to personal information could be misused in the name of national security. “One way is for the courts to interpret what is in the national interest.”
Krishna also highlighted that IBM was planning to increase its R&D strength in the country, including setting up more centers in smaller cities in response to the global shortage in tech talent, which could last up to a decade. “Apart from four R&D centers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and a smaller one in Delhi, we have just announced the opening of centers in Kochi and Ahmedabad. We will be adding a few thousand per year in our R&D centers and tens of thousands in the consulting business,” he said.
One reason for the lack of talent in technology, Krishna said, was that every company and government had woken up to the fact that technology is not a cost but is fundamental to achieving a competitive advantage.
“India has a great education system. I think there is no point in asking talent to be perfect but if the talent is good enough, IBM does the training. We are investing heavily in skills to boost the pipeline. have been,” he said.
Krishna met Minister of Railways, Electronics and Communications and IT Ashwini Vaishnav, State IT Minister Rajiv Chandrashekhar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during his visit to India. Among the topics discussed were the skilling of Indian workers.
“One area was on what can we do in workforce development in India that goes deeper than just IITs so that India is ready for the digital revolution. This is an area that we are very passionate about. One hundred percent of our CSR is done for workforce development,” said Krishna.
There was another topicgatishakti’ Or how India can accelerate digitization in government platforms so that the services that are available today and make people’s lives better are accessible faster.
Noting the government’s eagerness to build rural connectivity through broadband, Krishna discussed the role that IBM can play in technology and idea partnerships.
IBM is spending about $6 billion on organic R&D and software and consultancy accounts for 70 percent of its business.
In the company’s last quarter results, Asia and India as a whole performed very well with India, which he called ‘a bigger piece of the pie’. In the changing geopolitical landscape, IBM sees an ‘opportunity for India to leapfrog even further than it has in the past two decades’.
On the global debate on cryptocurrency, Krishna was non-committal. “Cryptocurrencies have their place. I can hardly argue the value of bitcoin. All I will say is that currencies that cannot be taxed and whose exchange rates fluctuate immensely are, well, fixed themselves. Do whether the government will support them.”
Although block chains will have an important use in supply chain management, particularly in the areas of food security, he did not want to estimate how long this would take.Krishna argued that digital currency (which he said was being confused with crypto) did not require a blockchain. “Standard databases and systems maintained by reserve banks can issue digital currency. It is backed by the government, it has fixed exchange rates. For those who say that the country needs blockchain for high volumes and high transactions ‘It’s an overkill,’ Krishna said.
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