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The Privacy Pivot: How Software & Internet GCCs can Gear Up for India’s New Data Protection Era

The Privacy Pivot: How Software & Internet GCCs can Gear Up for India’s New Data Protection Era

13 Sep, 2023

The Government of India recently introduced the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023. According to verbiage in the draft bill, this is ‘an act to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process such personal data for lawful purposes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.’

DPDP Bill and the Software & Internet GCCs

The bill, once enacted, will have far-reaching effects on just about any business operating in India. One of the largest segments of the Indian technology ecosystem is the Software & Internet companies that operate from India. For matters of this discussion, we are spotlighting the ripple effects for Global Capability Centers (GCCs) from the Software & Internet vertical. These GCCs are sailing into uncharted waters with this data protection bill. This landmark legislation promises to significantly impact how IT and Internet companies, both domestic and multinational, handle personal data of customers and employees. At its core, the bill seeks to empower individuals with control over their own data, creating both opportunities and compliance challenges for India’s vast tech sector.

Software & Internet GCCs that embrace the bill’s privacy-first ethos stand to reinforce trust and credibility with global clients and partners. However, those who drag their feet, risk hefty financial penalties, legal liabilities, and loss of brand reputation. Navigating cross-border data transfers and localization mandates will require agility in balancing compliance with operational efficiency. Above all, the bill makes it clear that India aims to cement its position as a dominant global tech hub, underpinned by robust data protection standards. 

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Much ambiguity still swirls around the bill’s extensive requirements. But the writing is on the wall – companies across verticals must act swiftly and strategically to comply. Those who successfully integrate privacy and security into their DNA will gain a competitive edge in the global market. With proper implementation, the bill can catalyze the growth of India’s technology ecosystem while safeguarding individual rights. The future will favor companies that recognize privacy as an opportunity, not an obstacle. India’s tech sector stands at the cusp of a new era – its readiness to embrace change will determine the nation’s digital destiny.

The bill comes with its own positives and challenges that Software & Internet GCCs must be aware of.


  • By mandating stringent data protections, the bill enables Software & Internet GCCs to robustly secure user and employee data, insulating brands from data breaches that erode consumer trust.  
  • Aligning with global standards facilitates frictionless data transfers and partnerships for GCCs collaborating across borders, unlocking innovation and growth.
  • Guaranteeing data privacy demonstrates a commitment to ethical values that today’s consumers demand, allowing GCCs to build lasting brand loyalty and advocacy.
  • Localizing data domestically spurs construction of new secure data centers, catalyzing economic growth while keeping Indian citizens’ data within the country’s borders.


  • The burdensome compliance requirements may bog down software design, development, and release cycles for Software & Internet GCCs. This could substantially impair their ability to respond nimbly to evolving customer needs and market demands. 
  • The constraints on data processing and consent imperatives may severely limit the ability of Software & Internet GCCs to harness user data to train AI models, backtest algorithms, and power innovative research. This could critically stagnate innovation in new products and services.
  • Many Software & Internet GCCs intensively leverage user data collection and analytics to enable targeted advertising, personalized recommendations, and other data-fueled business models. The DPDP Bill provisions may fundamentally disrupt such models and drastically impact revenue streams.
  • Software & Internet GCCs intrinsically rely on seamless cross-border data transfers to efficiently run global operations and collaboration 24X7. Mandated data localization and transfer restrictions may critically fracture global data flows and workflows.
  • Consent and access restrictions may profoundly hamper software developers, data scientists, and other employees from conveniently accessing real customer/user data imperative for their roles. This can substantially obstruct productivity.
  • Pervasive ambiguities in provisions may compel excessively cautious approaches even for essential software design and engineering activities, to mitigate legal risks. This climate of uncertainty may further strangle technology innovation.

What is the solution?

  • IT Act Compliance Gap Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive gap analysis of software systems and data practices against IT Act requirements. Identify priority areas for strengthening compliance.
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments: Institute data protection impact assessments to evaluate potential privacy risks in software products and Internet services. Address vulnerabilities through privacy-enhancing techniques.
  • Global Privacy Standards Integration: Provide advisory on integrating global privacy frameworks like GDPR with IT Act provisions. Leverage international best practices to enhance privacy protections.
  • Cross-border Data Transfer Compliance: Establish compliant cross-border data transfer mechanisms using standard contractual clauses and binding corporate rules.
  • Automated Privacy Audits: Implement ongoing automated privacy audits of software systems using AI and algorithmic techniques. Continuously monitor compliance health.
  • Vendor Privacy Assessments: Assess vendor compliance with the IT Act during software procurement. Evaluate privacy controls in vendor products and services.
  • IT Act Compliance Scorecards: Develop IT Act compliance scorecards and metrics for software companies. Quantify adherence to data protection obligations.

What can GCCs do additionally?

In the ever-changing business landscape in India, Software & Internet GCCs must proactively embrace the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, that not only presents challenges in the short term, but also significant opportunities for them to champion data privacy, enhance trust, and bolster brand loyalty.

As uncharted waters lie ahead, the GCCs’ ability to be agile in the face of the bill’s provisions will be their competitive edge. Their ability to pivot swiftly and adapt to any curveballs the bill may throw their way is paramount. In this era of evolving data protection, those GCCs that navigate the territory with flexibility and commitment to compliance will chart a course toward success in India’s tech ecosystem.

By setting high standards for data protection and demonstrating proactive adherence to the bill’s requirements, GCCs can inspire other MNCs and start-ups in India to follow suit. They can serve as trailblazers, showcasing how a commitment to privacy can not only ensure legal compliance but also foster a culture of privacy consciousness, customer loyalty, and innovation. As pioneers in this space, GCCs can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of data protection practices across the Indian business landscape.

As GCCs navigate increasingly uncharted waters, value creation and measurement don’t just become critical but imperative. What value is your GCC creating for HQ? Which metrics are you measuring? Speak to our experts to know how to measure the right value metrics by dropping a note to

  • Centers of Excellence
  • Data Protection
  • GCC setup
  • GCCs in India
  • Global Capability Centers
  • Internet & Software
Mohammed Faraz Khan, Partner, Zinnov
Varun Aithal, Consultant, Zinnov

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