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Localising Facebook data in India will be a risk: Mark Zuckerberg

The motives and intents behind storing data locally matter the most.

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MUMBAI: The demands for India’s data localisation are understandable but allowing it for one nation can trigger a demand from countries which are much more authoritarian and can misuse citizens' data, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to reports.

Zuckerberg interacted with historian and author Yuval Noah Harari on Friday. He said that the motives and intents behind storing data locally matter the most.

A question was asked stating why is it safe to store the data about Indian citizens in the US and not in India when they're openly saying they care only about themselves. Zuckerberg responded, "I think that the motives matter and certainly, I don't think that either of us would consider India to be an authoritarian country." He added that the intent matters and countries can come at this with open values and still conclude that something like that could be helpful.

Furthermore, he said, "But I think one of the things that you need to be very careful about is that if you set that precedent you're making it very easy for other countries that don't have open values and that are much more authoritarian and want the data not to protect their citizens but to be able to surveil them and find dissident and lock them up."

He added that its stance on data localisation is a risk. He said that if Facebook gets blocked in a major country that will hurt the community and business. But he added that Facebook’s principles on data localisation aren’t new and this has always been a risk.

Zuckerberg was of the opinion that advanced systems for detecting interference in the democratic process, and more broadly being able to identify that, is needed to be built by Facebook.

"The idea is to identify when people are standing up networks of fake accounts that are not behaving in a way that normal people would, to be able to weed those out and work with law enforcement and election commissions and folks all around the world and the intelligence community to be able to coordinate and be able to deal with that effectively," said Zuckerberg.

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