External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said data security and data privacy are the biggest challenges of the digital world and issues connected to them are expected to be addressed during the G20 meeting. The EAM was addressing the 'Festival of Thinkers' organised by the Symbiosis International University here.
Jaishankar said the G20 meeting was taking place at a time when factors like the Ukraine-Russia war, the COVID pandemic and its effects on the world stage had created "multiple layers of stress".
Stressing that one of the new factors at play was digital, he said, "We still have not fully appreciated it but digital has changed our lives. Every time you look at the screen, you are learning something but somebody is also learning something about you, your habits, your likes, dislikes, demands, and preferences."
Speaking on how power among nations will be determined in the background of digitisation, he said there was a time when wealth and military strength and gold reserves decided this power, while later it was oil.
"Now, there is a new term 'data is the new oil'. What does it mean? It actually means every digital transaction contributes to artificial intelligence, the creation of which will actually determine what is the balance of power among nations in the coming years," he opined.
"The biggest challenge today when it comes to anything digital is data security and data privacy. What it boils down to is who sees your data, who harvests your data, who monetizes your data, who utilizes your data and what power do they have over you as a result of all this," Jaishankar explained.
Having more resilient, reliable and multiple supply chains was a major concern and need in the manufacturing world, while, similarly, in the world of data, there is need for more trusted practices to ensure privacy is respected and conveniences of life do not become a vulnerability for each one of us as well as for the the nation.
"This is the a scenario of the world. It is a scenario where we have both east and west friction or tension flowing from (war in ) Ukraine, north-south countries developing tension flowing from COVID and other issues," he said. Technology is a hugely complicated factor, the External Affairs Minister said. "These (technology, its implications and complications) are really the issues which G20, in some form, is expected to address," he added.