There was a time when gold was considered to be the most valuable resource. Eventually, gold was replaced by oil. That seems like ages ago, because today we have a new resource which is valuable than both gold and oil- Data. Data has transformed into more of a commodity in this information age and is more valuable than any of the natural resources we have access to. It allows us not only to track what happened in the past, but why it happened, what’s likely to occur in the future and what’s the best course of action to take.

When the East India Company first came to India pretending to be friendly traders, we welcomed them. But once they started showing their true colors, we were already in their clutches. And by the time we realized what was happening, we were unable to do anything. But that was then and we were looted of almost all the wealth we had. Thinking of it, it seems like the same is happening today but instead of gold and wealth, today we are being looted of something more powerful and expensive- Data and Intelligence.

In the name of development and progress, India has allowed companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon to access our Data. And they keep on collecting huge amounts of data every second of every day. For instance, Facebook has more than 950 million users worldwide, of which a whopping 108.9 million are from India. Every time you click a notification, visit a page, upload a photo, or check out a friend’s link, you’re generating data for the company to track. Multiply that by 108.9 million people, who spend on average more than 6.5 hours on the site every month, and that’s a lot of information.

It’s no different when it comes to the other big players such as Amazon or Google. While Facebook knows most of the personal data of all the individuals that use it (and Whatsapp), Google knows almost all the important national as well as business secrets that pass through their servers. Even though they adhere to the privacy policy on the outside, it is doubtful that if anything at all is unknown. High security files and even budget details are exposed and known to them before the cabinet knows. Similarly, Amazon has access to financial secrets and customer behavior including spending pattern and credit rating.

Almost all of our Data is in their possession and what do we get in return? Nothing. We have allowed these giants to plague us and take hold of the most significant resource of this information age. What is more surprising is in spite of the windfall valuations that these giants generate, they pay no amounts in tax for the amount of data they acquire from us.

On the other hand, in Chinese Internet industry, there are three big leaders in the big data wave: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, called BAT. From the data source perspective, Baidu collects the data based on user search, Alibaba owns the transaction data and credit data, and Tencent has the social network data. China has set their boundaries and built their own companies to guard their Data while India continues to be utilized in this new age.


The question is, why can’t we do the same? We have the resources we need in abundance- both Data and Intelligence. Still, why does India allow itself to be exploited? Is it too late to stop? Or are we scared of the repercussions? Is it the mistake of Congress government? Are we scared of USA? The questions are perplexing and endless.

Being addicted to Facebook and Whatsapp, and regularly making use of Amazon and Google, we are closing our eye to the fact that we are being exploited every single time we are on one of these. The addiction is rising and sadly, we are not realizing that these companies are creating their own wealth. Are we being too used to these platforms that we cannot stop using them?


Despite having a well-qualified think tank, why is the Prime Minister not being advised of this? It is rather strange to see the Prime Minister holding hands with and hugging the founders and CEOs of these corporate giants when he should in fact be holding a strategy to keep our Data safe. Hope it is not too late to learn from what China has been able to do and keep our eyes open. Let’s hope we realize the facts and do what is necessary.

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