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The US is pushing India to water down its laws on localisation of data storage, with two senators claiming they would constitute key barriers to trade between the two countries.

Reuters reported that senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner, who jointly chair the so-called India caucus, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to adopt a "light touch" that would allow the data to flow freely across borders.

In August, it was reported that global payments firms MasterCard, Visa and American Express were lobbying the Indian Government to avoid having to store customer data locally by 15 October.

The same month, it was reported that the panel working on India's cloud computing policy wanted data to be stored locally, meaning that costs for companies like Amazon and Microsoft would go up.

The senators' letter appears to be the last attempt to try and water down the data storage laws, with India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, telling top payments firms that data localisation would go ahead, with no data mirroring allowed.

In their letter, Cornyn and Warner said: "We see this (data localisation) as a fundamental issue to the further development of digital trade and one that is crucial to our economic partnership."

India is formulating an overall data protection law that wants all critical personal data stored within the country. New Delhi is also developing policies on ecommerce and cloud computing.

The letter also raised concerns around these proposed ecommerce and cloud computing laws.

American lobby groups have also taken up cudgels on behalf of Google, Facebook and Amazon, which are also concerned about the data localisation laws, as it would mean higher operating costs.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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