A legal framework to ensure human-centered digital infrastructure

In the current rapidly evolving digital landscape, there is no doubt in the fact that our country stands at a critical juncture, with its digital public infrastructure and facilities becoming increasingly integral to the lives of its citizens. 

In recent years, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak, India has witnessed a remarkable digital transformation, with advancements in technology as well as connectivity touching every facet of our society. However, as the digital footprint of India expands with each day passing by, there is a pressing need for a comprehensive legal framework to ensure that this whole infrastructure remains human-centered. 

The Digital Landscape in India

The digital transformation of our country has been nothing short of remarkable. As per a recent report, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 900 million. With this much population size, our country boasts one of the largest populations in the world. 

This is simply because of certain factors, such as affordable data plans and government initiatives like Digital India, that have given digitization a boost, impacting many sectors. These sectors are education, finance, healthcare, and governance. 

However, one should be well aware that this rapid digitalization brings an array of challenges that require a human-centric technology approach to address effectively. These challenges encompass digital access, data privacy, cybersecurity, and the ethical use of technology. Therefore, in order to create a digital ecosystem that prioritizes human welfare, a comprehensive legal framework is essential. 

Advocating for a Digital Infrastructure Focused on Human Needs

  1. Digital Inclusion

Our country’s digital divide is stark, with urban areas undoubtedly enjoying much better access to technology than those living in rural areas. A human-centered framework should always prioritize digital inclusion, ensuring that all citizens, regardless of location or socioeconomic status, have access to essential digital services as well as potential opportunities. 

  1. Digital Literacy

Promoting this is very important to ensure that citizens can harness the potential of digital technology. The overall framework here should include provisions for digital education as well as awareness programs to equip people with the skills needed to navigate the digital space safely.

  1. Data Security and Privacy

As more personal kinds of data are generated and shared online, data privacy and security become paramount, without any doubt. A legal framework should establish stringent data protection laws, enforcement mechanisms, and guidelines for businesses and government entities that handle personal data. 

  1. Ethical Technology and AI

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies must adhere to ethical principles. Guidelines should be established to ensure transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI algorithms and the decision-making process, which is essential. 

  1. Cybersecurity

With the increased reliability of digital tech comes cybersecurity threats like never before. So, a human-centered framework and a public policy in India should be able to address these threats. This can be done by encouraging effective cybersecurity practices and fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors to safeguard the whole infrastructure. 

Recently, we had a discussion with one of the experts from a company named ‘Areness,’ one of the top law firms in India. They also supported the need for human-centered digital infrastructure in India to harness the full potential of technology while equally protecting the rights and well-being of its citizens. 

Moreover, the G20 Summit also recently took place in New Delhi, India where leaders stressed on the importance of international governance for Artificial Intelligence. They further called for a secure, trusted, and inclusive digital public infrastructure (DPI) for service delivery and innovation. 

As India continues to emerge as a digital powerhouse, it must prioritize the development and implementation of such a framework to ensure one fact: technology serves as a force for the good. Period.

 

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