What do you understand by the so called "Digital Sovereignty"? What is its importance towards security, governance and public welfare? Discuss keeping focus on current government efforts towards digital sovereignty.

Published: July 23, 2017

Digital Sovereignty is an offshoot of the privacy debate and stands for respecting the privacy and sanctity of an individual by granting suitable autonomy over the extent of one’s digital representation in the society. The individual data thus collected by the government which is stored in the digital form should remain within the boundaries of the same and fall under the jurisdiction of that country.
Significance:
Data is the buzzword today and anyone with access to data is the clear leader. This makes it more vulnerable to theft as it more portable and easy to duplicate. Moreover, most data on public cloud and data storage centres lies in a different country from which it is collected. This has given rise to great concerns and security challenges for individuals, governments and IT professionals.  Data sovereignty stands for storing data on servers located within the country itself.

  • The Digital India is a flagship programme of Indian government which is designed to provide the basic services like health, education, banking through e-governance. Furthermore, the biometric enrolment for Aadhaar numbers and the linking of the latter with PAN and bank accounts call for robust security systems to manage and protect sensitive public data.
  • India needs to create better jobs and opportunities for its masses by the expansion of Internet to all. However, this further underlines the need for digital sovereignty.
  • Digital sovereignty also is the basic need for the success of Make in India. Latter seeks to promote local production capacities for both national and international clients. However, this demands high IT standards and digital safety.

The government thus needs to build strong regulations and impose restrictions on transfer and sharing of sensitive information. In addition, there is a need for strong data centres under the National e-Governance Plan. Data encryption has been made compulsory as a standard security process for all the confidential data kept by the government in the cloud.
Thus, Digital Sovereignty is the fundamental need for the creation of digitally powerful yet tough nation.

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