Issue Brief on “India’s G20 Framework of Digital Public Infrastructure: Vulnerabilities and Mass Surveillance”

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Introduction:

The G20 Leaders’ Declaration welcomed the proposal of the ‘G20 Framework for Systems of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI)’ by India.[1] The stated purpose of DPI framework is to minimize the digital divide and harness the potential of technology in low and middle-income countries, especially Africa. Though the DPI would bring services to society, it would have notable repercussions as well. It appears that India’s proposal for DPI is to gather, control and govern global data, particularly from low and middle-income countries. Personal, financial, commercial, government, and defence information, which can be referred to as ‘data,’ is a critical strategic asset that exposes intricate details of the functioning of the state from the top (i.e. government) down to its basic unit, which is the individual. It exposes a society’s information-processing, decision-making and problem-solving mechanisms, which would make the states adopting India’s Framework of DPI vulnerable.

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