Digital Kleptocracy

A government in which corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of a country to increase their personal wealth and political powers is referred to as Kleptocracy.

What defines kleptocracy?

  • A kleptocracy is a government which is governed by corrupt politicians who rely on their political power to receive kickbacks, bribes, and special favors from businesses and investors.?
  • In this system, corrupt politicians embezzle funds meant the development of the greater population.
  • The Kleptocrats rely on the use of political leverage to pass various laws which can be used to enrich them.
  • They laws circumvent the basic rule of law and are detrimental to the progress of the nation.

What is digital kleptocracy?

  • While the Union Government has focused heavily on the use of data for the benefit of Indian citizens, critics of the government’s push have alleged that given the lack of data security and a proper mechanism for the redressal is tantamount to the rise of digital kleptocracy.
  • The critics allege that the consolidation of data with a special header (like the unique number such as Aadhaar link)? will reduce the costs of data profiling and aggregation.
  • The centralization of data which will put in in a single data silo would mean that a single data breach can compromise all data related to a person’s life like his name, address, contact details, browsing preferences etc.
  • In a digital kleptocracy, a corporation or an organization would be able to use data available to selectively push its products to those who are more likely to buy it (targeted selling or predatory lending).?
  • The privacy and data protection laws also face several unique implementation challenges in India.

Why this has happened?

The digital kleptocracy in India has happened on account of low technical proficiency levels and lack of legal literacy. This is combined with pre-existing social inequalities which all have an impact on the power relations between the citizens/consumers and government/corporations.


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