State of Consumer Digital Security in India

Posted by Pranav M B at Jul 05, 2021 12:00 AM |
This report attempts to identify the existing state of digital safety in India, with a mapping of digital threats, which will aid stakeholders in identifying and addressing digital security problems in the country. This project was funded by the Asia Foundation.


Since 2006, successive Union governments in India have shown increased focus on digital governance. The National e-Governance Plan was launched by the UPA government in2006, and several digital projects led by the state such as digitisation of the filing of taxes, appointment process for passports, corporate governance, and the Aadhaar programme(India’s unique digital identity system that utilises biometric and demographic data) arose under it, in the form of mission mode projects (projects that are part of a broader National e-governance initiative, each focusing on specific e-Governance aspects, like banking, land records, or commercial taxes). In 2014, when the NDA government came to power, the National e-Governance Plan was subsumed under the government’s flagship project of Digital India, and several mission mode projects were added. In the meantime, the internet connectivity, first in the form of wire connectivity, and later in the form of mobile connectivity has increased greatly. In the same period, use of digital services, first in new services native to the Internet such as email, social networking, instant messaging, and later the platformization and disruption of traditional business models in transportation, healthcare, finance and virtually every sector, has led to a deluge of digital private service providers in India.

Currently, India has 500 million internet users — over a third of its total population — making it the country with the second largest number of Internet users after China. The uptake of these technological services has also been accompanied by several kinds of digital threats that an average digital consumer in India must regularly contend with. This report is a mapping of consumer-facing digital threats in India and is intended to aid stakeholders in identifying and addressing digital security problems. The first part of the report categorises digital threats into four kinds, Personal Data Threats, Online Content Related Threats, Financial Threats, and Online Sexual Harassment Threats. Threats under each category are then defined, with detailed consumer-facing consequences, and past instances where harm has been caused because of these threats.


Read the full report here.