Indian telecom leaders prepare for enhanced privacy compliance under new data law

As significant data fiduciaries, telecom operators are focusing on data protection and assessment. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act grants authority to label “Significant Data Fiduciaries” based on factors like data volume and impact.

laptop keys and keyboard with the word data privacy.

Major Indian telecom companies Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are foreseeing a stronger commitment to privacy regulations following the recent enactment of a data privacy law. Speaking during a discussion at the ETTelecom Digital Telco Summit, Gulshan Khurana from Vodafone Idea emphasized that telecom providers might soon hold significant responsibility for data protection due to their heavy reliance on mobile numbers as official consumer identities. Khurana emphasized the necessity of evaluating necessary data and its utilization in line with the new legislation. Sanjeev Dhallam, Airtel’s Vice President of Core Network & Security, remarked on the existing robust data protection practices within the telecom sector.

Through the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, ratified on August 12, the Indian government gains the authority to designate Data Fiduciaries as “Significant Data Fiduciaries” based on considerations such as data volume, sensitivity, and impact on national integrity. The law empowers consumers to demand insights into collected data and its intentions, and to request data erasure. Telecom companies, which serve as intermediaries for this data, are predicted to confront heightened compliance obligations, encompassing data localization and consent oversight. This shift toward compliance corresponds with the escalating significance of security, privacy, and identity management within the dynamic domain of 5G networks.

Why does this matter?

Data-driven business models are growing fast and are becoming critical in all sectors of the economy, from manufacturing to services. In such a context, the international flows of data have become increasingly important for states and companies, and are playing a key role in various treaties, conventions, and trade agreements around the world. This move highlights the proactive stance of major Indian telecom companies, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, in adapting to the newly enacted data privacy law. The anticipation of increased privacy compliance showcases their commitment to safeguarding consumer data and adhering to legal requirements.