AI Takes Center Stage in 2023: India Leads the Way in User Safety and Privacy Regulations




TechWizard: India’s New Data Privacy Laws and the Rise of AI in 2023

TechWizard: India’s New Data Privacy Laws and the Rise of AI in 2023

India enacted new laws on data privacy and storage as it moved to a higher gear to safeguard users and define the compliance framework for BigTech in 2023 when technology galloped at an unprecedented pace. From excitement and awe around Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the virality of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and India’s crackdown on deepfakes to New Delhi’s determined moves on digital sovereignty, dramatic twists and turns in the tech landscape defined an eventful 2023. The spotlight was clearly on the social media platforms and BigTech. India’s resolve to safeguard netizens from new kinds of user harms emerging in the digital space was clear, as the government moved decisively to craft regulations and laws. Also read: Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder It crafted a future-ready framework that would not just protect digital personal data but also ensure an open, safe and trusted internet backed by tighter accountability for digital and social media platforms operating in India. The government talked tough with social media platforms after several ‘deepfake’ videos targeting leading actors, including Rashmika Mandanna, went viral, sparking public outrage and raising concerns over the weaponisation of technology for creating doctored content and harmful narratives. It also asked platforms to act decisively on deepfakes and align their terms of use and community guidelines as per the IT rules and current laws. Further, the government made it clear that any compliance failure will be dealt with strictly and evoke legal consequences. Globally, macroeconomic woes and growth challenges kept BigTech on the edge as companies tightened their belt and indeed their purse strings and resorted to mass downsizing at the start of 2023. Social media space continued to buzz with action amid the rising appeal of shareable, bite-sized short-form videos and the popularity of apps and memes to suit every occasion. Elon Musk’s social media platform Twitter was rebranded as X in July 2023, and in one swift move, the familiar blue bird logo officially retired. Meta launched Twitter-rival app Threads, which scored an instant hit with millions of downloads but lost steam in the weeks that followed. In January, the government set up three grievances appellate committees to address users’ complaints against social media and other internet-based platforms. In August, Parliament approved the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDP) aimed at safeguarding the digital personal data of 1.4 billion citizens and underlining India’s digital sovereignty. The freshly minted law will arm individuals with greater control over their data while allowing companies to transfer users’ data abroad for processing, except to territories restricted by the Centre through notification. It also gives the government power to seek information from firms and issue directions to block content. The law envisages the establishment of the Data Protection Board of India, tasked with monitoring compliance, inquiring into breaches, imposing penalties, and directing remedial or mitigation measures in case of data breach. 2023 was also a year when governments across the world moved to formulate rules around content accountability and confronted ethical questions as Artificial Intelligence went mainstream, holding out both the promise of a transformative future and fears of a dystopian society plagued with misinformation, AI-laced weapons, and job losses. As machines demonstrated impressive capabilities of reasoning and human-like decisions, AI advances rivalled sci-fi movie scripts complete with doomsday prophecies. The most powerful faces of the global tech industry, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, joined the chorus of voices flagging the risk of extinction from AI on par with nuclear war…