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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 17 October 2020

Modern Data Privacy Law (ToI)

  • India has slapped a ban on 100+ Chinese apps
  • The need to protect data of Indian citizens has acquired greater urgency due to a tense border standoff.
  • Trying to do so without an overarching law would still leave us vulnerable.
  • For example, pre-installed apps in many smartphones have “custom permission” to collect users’ data.
  • Fintech, pharmaceuticals, equipment for telecoms and in other sectors – Chinese investment.
  • All such applications, which have significant Chinese investments, certainly deserve scrutiny for security and privacy measures.
  • For e.g. USA – it can crack down on Chinese apps because it has an established legal framework.
  • Indian officials have used Section 69A of the Information Technology Act to ban Chinese applications.
  • This section essentially grants the power to block public access to any information available online.
  • Currently, the apps have only been banned via a press release, without mentioning the specificities behind the threat to India’s sovereignty.
  • The current situation only underscores the need to set up a broader regulatory framework to protect our tech sovereignty.
  • There are not only no rules and regulations to monitor entities that collect or store personal data, but companies are not obligated to report about storing and processing such data.
  • Neither do they incur any specific liability by processing personal data, nor can any individual – who should have the right on such information – file any complaint about misuse.
  • A modern data security law will not only provide an enabling environment to businesses but also a great comfort to citizens who may be vulnerable to data breaches even while using their pho

China’s rise and fall at the UN

  • The UN season, though, started on an auspicious note for India, with India besting China in the elections for a seat on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
  • This was the first such victory in a decade.
  • To add to China’s woes, soon after the CSW vote, it lost another election, this time to tiny Samoa for a seat on the UN Statistical Commission.
  • And a couple of days ago, it just about managed to get elected to the UN High Rights Council, coming fourth out of five contestants for four vacancies.
  • Earlier, China’s candidate had lost to a Singaporean in the race for DG World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • In 2011, India defeated China in a one-on-one election at the UN for a place on the Joint Inspection Unit.
  • Thereafter, taking advantage of its position as a member of the P-5 and as a huge aid giver, China made itself invincible in UN elections, capturing, among others, the top positions at
    • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
    • The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
    • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
    • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

HISTORY

  • It all began, as is the case with India and multilateralism, a century ago with World War I.
  • India was one of the largest contributors of soldiers in the war against Germany and Turkey and became a founding member of the League of Nations even though it was a colony.
  • At the end of WWII, India participated in all the three UN conferences becoming a charter member of the UN even before Independence.
  • China saw an opportunity in World War I to rid itself of German occupation from some of its territory and allied with the United Kingdom and France.
  • But they could not send soldiers as the Japanese, who were in competition with the Germans for the same Chinese territories, also allied against the Germans and refused to countenance Chinese troops in action.
  • So, the Chinese sent large numbers of labour to support the western war efforts against Germany and won an invite at the Versailles Peace Conference.
  • Things, however, did not turn out well as the West sided with the Japanese and China refused to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty.
  • The United States, though, was sympathetic to the Chinese cause, and a few years later helped reach a peace deal between China and Germany.
  • World War II saw strong U.S.-China collaboration against the Japanese.
  • These old trans-Pacific linkages of the U.S. and China, including the presence of a very large Chinese community on the west coast of the U.S., are not well known, especially in India, but China is really “the forgotten ally” of the U.S. to use an expression coined by Oxford Professor Rana Mitter.
  • Their bilateral ties saw the U.S. include the Chinese in the ‘Four Policemen’.
  • The U.S. also thought that China would act as a bulwark against the USSR.
  • But that was the Republic of China (RoC) led by the Kuomintang who were soon routed on the mainland by the communists and found themselves on the island of Formosa (now Taiwan).
  • This is important as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would have us believe that it was a founder of the UN.
  • RoC retained the UN seat of China till 1971 when it was expelled from the UN and the PRC admitted as a member giving it a de jure pole position at the UN.
  • U.S. President Richard Nixon visited Beijing in 1972 and the U.S.’s opening to the PRC certainly paved the way for the unprecedented economic growth of China.
  • However, in its march to global hegemony, the COVID-19 pandemic may have caught China on the wrong foot.
  • Perhaps most important are institutional reforms in the UN Security Council (UNSC) and at the Bretton Woods Institutions so that their governance leverages the capabilities of the major players among both the developed and developing countries.
  • Earlier in the year, India was elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term. India will also host the BRICS Summit next year and G-20 Summit in 2022.
  • These are openings for India in coalescing the world in critical areas that require global cooperation especially climate change, pandemics and counter-terrorism.
  • UN with increased financial contributions in line with its share of the world economy and by placing its people in key multilateral positions.

NEWS

  • PM Modi assures all help to Karnataka and Maharashtra to deal with situation arising out of heavy rains
  • NEET UG results for admission to undergraduate medical courses declared
  • Active COVID-19 cases in country drop below 8 lakh mark for first time in one and a half months
  • India's foreign exchange reserves touch all time high of 551.505 billion dollars
  • India hosts virtual Summit of Ministers of Justice of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
  • Nitin Gadkari inaugurates, lays foundation stones for 16 NH projects in Andhra Pradesh
  • RBI to conduct first-ever OMO purchase of SDLs on October 22
  • Greece, Cyprus push for tougher EU response to Turkey’s natural gas exploration
  • India, Chile hold first joint commission meeting