Tuesday, January 26

In a 1st, Bengal govt to train Kolkata BPOs, IT firms in global privacy laws

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The Bengal government, in a first-of-its-kind initiative, has roped in IT and legal experts to coach BPOs and software firms on current international privacy laws and the dos and don’ts of tele-calling and personal data-handling.

The decision follows numerous cases of spamming that have brought even genuine call centres, working out of the Kolkata-Sector V-New Town belt, under the scanner of local, national and international law-enforcing agencies. Cases like these often lead to smaller firms, which do not have the resources to fight protracted legal battles, shutting down. This can prove catastrophic in the current situation, when the pandemic has resulted in an economic trough.

“For Indian ITES, BPO and pharmaceutical giants, Europe has always been a potential market, which now has the most stringent privacy law in place. Non-compliance can lead to a stupendous fine, which can even force smaller companies to shut down ultimately leading to further job loss. Hence, awareness in handling data of European citizens and those of other parts of the world is the need of the hour. We will train IT heads of all small and bigger companies in the city on current privacy law compliance and the way forward,” said Bivas Chatterjee, special public prosecutor of Bengal for cyber law and e-evidence.

We will train the IT heads of all small and bigger companies in the city on current privacy law compliance and the way forward,” said Bivas Chatterjee, special public prosecutor of Bengal for cyber law and e-evidence.

As part of the process, the department of IT Information Technology & Electronics, Government of West Bengal, in collaboration with NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies) and CIO Klub, Kolkata Chapter, will host a webinar this Wednesday which will be attended by representatives of all major IT and ITES firms in Sector V, New Town, Salt Lake and Kolkata, an IT department official said.

The primary topic of discussion, the official said, will be General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a set of data-protection law framed by the European Union that defines how personal data of EU citizens, including names, addresses, email addresses, location data or computer IP addresses — is protected and limits their use by companies and individuals across the world.

“GDPR makes it mandatory for all companies to adhere to the guidelines related to sharing and use of such data and failure to comply with the GDPR requirements can attract administrative fines of up to 20 million Euros or 4% of global turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher, depending on the nature of provisions breached,” said Chatterjee, who would be the chief speaker at the webinar.

In the last two years, Kolkata has been the focus of multiple cybercrime investigating agencies in India as well as London and Germany. Call centres involved in phishing scams in India are mostly based in Jharkhand or even Noida. But the Kolkata ones specifically target overseas clients. Last year, during their visit to the city, London police had claimed over 23,000 fraud cases originating from the city were registered with them in a little over a year.

“It’s a shame that because of the wrongdoings of a few, the entire industry is getting tarnished. Hence, all IT and ITES – especially SMEs now need to gear up and understand the dos and don’ts they need to comply with while handling overseas residents’ data. Failure to do the same can land them in big trouble. Hence this sensitization session is extremely important as no company is in a position to afford any more financial loss in this pandemic-hit economy,” said Nirupam Chaudhuri, regional director (eastern India), NASSCOM.

Beside the EU, UK, Japan and the US too have upgraded their privacy laws. While US has state-specific laws to curtail unauthorised data breach, Japan has also formulated an act to prohibit any misuse of data for individuals and institutions without their prior consent.

Senior employees of multiple small and medium IT companies that TOI spoke to admitted that they are still in the process of preparing privacy law guidelines. “We are in the process of upgrading our system as per the updated compliance levels but it is far from complete,” said a senior official of a BPO in Sector V, who will be participating in the training programme this week.

Source: TimesofIndia

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