India: Tech firms warn against stiff cloud computing regulations

Tech firms believe a heavy-handed regulatory approach to cloud computing will inhibit growth. Pic: Pixabay

TECHNOLOGY firms and industry bodies have almost unanimously warned against stifling India’s burgeoning cloud services sector with unnecessary rules.

The calls come in response to a consultation paper released in June by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which covered everything from how to increase use of the cloud by government bodies, to security and ensuring quality of service.

But the section concerning regulations has taken center-stage in the 37 responses so far. This included questions on how to ensure interoperability, rules for lawful interception of data, whether providers should be licensed and whether they should have to locate data centers in India.

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“Given the relatively early stage of cloud computing development, we strongly caution against taking an overtly regulated approach to structuring the cloud computing industry in India,” said Amazon Web Services’ response, according to the Economic Times.

“At this stage of the sector’s development in India, we believe that a heavy-handed regulatory approach will likely inhibit growth.”

Responses from the National Association for Software and Services Companies, Internet and Mobile Association of India and Cellular Operators Association of India all said market forces should be allowed to deal with issues of interoperability and migration between different companies’ clouds.

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Most responses also rejected the idea of ‘data localisation’ saying it would impede service delivery and increase costs, though new 4G operator Reliance Jio supported the concept in the name of national security.

However, regulation of some kind will almost inevitably be included in Trai’s recommendations to the Department of Telecommunications at the end of the consultation.

“Regulations should be put in place to protect the interests of both cloud services providers and the consumers. Regulations are also required for standardisation of technical parameters associated with cloud computing networks,” said the paper’s introductory section, according to The Wire.