Top American companies including Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Amazon were found in violation of the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines that ban the international transfer of data that gets generated through transactions in India.
India’s banking regulator wants these American companies to toe the line and store all information related to transactions originating in India in Servers within the confines of Indian borders.
While top American companies are yet to fall in line with the RBI’s expectations, California-based
WhatsApp will comply with RBI’s data localization policy.
Data localisation has been a topic of discussion for a long time in India, but RBI has recently made its stance very clear that it wants to get this policy enforced at the earliest to prevent any misuse of data. In fact, the deadline of October 15, 2018, was set by the RBI in its letter to top American companies dealing with payment data of Indian users. This recent development at the stroke of the midnight hour, where RBI has found AmEx, Amazon, Visa and Mastercard in violation of its guidelines speaks volumes about the seriousness of the banking regulator in making things happen.
Extension to the deadline
Some of the US companies are seeking more time from RBI to create systems to implement RBI’s data localisation policy. These companies argue that they need time to improve the current security measures for their Indian clients to implement this policy. Some of these companies have also argued that by going the data localisation route, Indian customers will not benefit from their global anti-fraud systems.
Most of these American companies are also lobbying with US lawmakers to bail them out. Even though the deadline has extended, the data continues to be stored outside of India.
Companies like Amazon and Paytm have already indicated that they are in the process of complying with these new norms set by RBI. Some of the US firms like Visa and Mastercard are seeking one-year extensions. Walmart, which has recently made a big investment in India through the acquisition of Flipkart is also seeking an extension of the deadline.
H-1B visa issue
The Trump Administration continues to put a stranglehold on the H-1B visa program through changing policies. Be it the decision to revoke work permit of H4 visa holders or giving autonomous powers to the USCIS authorities to outrightly reject H-1B applications, there are several reasons why Indian techies in the US are not happy with visa norms in the United States.
A recently filed
lawsuit by Dallas-based ITServe Alliance alleges that USCIS has approved H-1B applications that are as short as 12-days as against a typical three year period. These petitions are valid only for a few months and days, in some cases even expiring before the approval is received.