A Balancing Act: The Promise and Peril of Big Tech in India | Panel Discussion Summary

Takeaways from a panel discussion held to release the report 'A Balancing Act: The Promise and Peril of Big Tech in India'.

On 6 August 2020, Tandem Research held an online panel discussion to release its new report, A Balancing Act: The Promise and Peril of Big Tech in India. The report examines the ways in which Big Tech companies are transforming India’s digital economy and society, and the policies needed to align Big Tech trajectories with healthy markets, individual freedoms, and societal wellbeing.

The panel was composed of individuals with diverse outlooks and experiences - a parliamentarian, a representative from a Big Tech company, two individuals heading think tanks, a former member of the Competition Commission of India, and the head of a non-profit organisation. They discussed various issues that regulating Big Tech is likely to pose for India. With each panelist bringing a varied perspective to the table, the discussion reflected a need for a robust regulatory response and also a realignment of practices followed by platforms.

View the video here.

  • There is a need for systematic frameworks to think through the impact of Big Tech companies.
  • Unique social, economic and cultural aspects of India pose particular challenges for regulation of Big Tech.
  • Regulation is inevitable and should be in the form of constructive policies that mitigate the harms Big Tech companies cause without stifling the good they do.
  • It is necessary to establish what the nature of the relationship is going to be between big corporations and the state.
  • Institutions in India have not been able to keep up with the expansion of the technological footprint.
  • The design practices platforms are driven by their underlying business models and not on an understanding of the need for nuance and realities of particular contexts.


AI & Society


Joanne D'Cunha

Joanne D'Cunha is a research associate with the AI and Society Initiative at Tandem. Her work focuses on data governance, artificial intelligence, and related legal and policy challenges. She's interested in investigating the implications of data and emerging technologies, and its interaction with law and society. She has a Masters of Law in Information Technology from the University of Sussex, and a Bachelors of Arts and Law from Symbiosis Law School.

Harsh Ghildiyal

Harsh Ghildiyal is a Research Associate at Tandem Research working on the AI & Society initiative. His current work is focused on issues of data, artificial intelligence, privacy, and platform governance. He is interested in understanding the social implications of technologies and the legal and regulatory responses to them, and working towards an equitable technological future. He has a degree in humanities and law from Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam.