India will continue to partner with foreign and private companies but will ensure that the internet remains free and open and is not dominated by big companies, minister of state (MoS) for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said at the Fuel for India 2021 virtual conference by Meta (formerly Facebook) on Wednesday. The minister was speaking with Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director, India, Meta, at the event.
Chandrasekhar said the government doesn’t only want to connect a billion Indians, but also to ensure that the internet continues to be open. He said the internet should remain safe, trusted, and accountable to the principal stakeholders, the users and consumers.
“We also want to make sure that intermediaries and big platforms, such as Facebook, develop a culture of mutual respect and accountability between the platform and the users,” he added. The minister said that a billion Indians, including women, children and the elderly are going to be on the internet, which is why the government wants to ensure that it is safe and trusted.
Chandrasekhar isn’t the first person from the government to voice concern over the dominance of Big Tech. The same has been shared by regulators and government agencies in other countries, too. Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are also under the scanner in India for alleged anti-competitive practices.
Google is facing a probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for allegedly promoting its payments service Google Pay over others, forcing smart TV brands to pre-install Google apps, and for imposing its payments gateway on developers using the Google Play Store for distributing apps.