Convergence Plus
Friday, June 5, 2020
Jio Backs Data Localisation to Stave Off Cyberattacks

Reliance Jio , the wholly-owned telecom unit of RIL, has stressed on the need for data localisation and a regulatory framework that ensures corporates take adequate measures for data protection, saying it is critical to stave off increasing cyberattacks.

“Jio has been a strong supporter of local storage of data, which is critical for national interest and security, given the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks. Jio believes that Indians are the true owners of their data and the ownership should not be transferred to any corporate entity,” RIL said in its annual report for FY19. “This would require a regulatory framework to ensure that corporates are taking adequate measures to ensure data protection.”

The company said data localisation will also spur investments in creating servers and cloud capacities, boosting R&D and creating employment. The government is slated to shortly introduce the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, in Parliament, which addresses concerns related to security and privacy of data, consumption of which has surged in India, thanks to affordable rates of mobile Internet and of smartphones.

The operator is betting on growing teledensity in rural areas, rise in consumption and the demand for smartphones for its expansion from being a telco to a digital services player that also has agriculture and healthcare in focus. (Source: Economic Times)

TikTok owner to set up data centres in India

China’s Bytedance Ltd, which owns the popular TikTok and Helo apps, plans to establish data centres in India. The company was recently issued a notice by the Indian government for allegedly misusing the platforms for “anti-national activities”. The firm was warned that the apps may face a ban if it fails to submit appropriate responses by 22 July.

“We are now in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within India’s borders,” Bytedance said in a press release on Sunday. The move is in line with the government’s efforts towards data localization for user data gathered from India. The investment towards the local data centres will be part of the billion dollar investment in India that Bytedance had announced earlier this year, according to a Business Standard report.

The company also said it has so far been storing Indian users’ data in third-party servers located in the US and Singapore. The firm had made similar claims earlier this month when Congress party leader Shashi Tharoor accused the firm of collecting user data illegally and sending it to China.

“These claims are simply untrue. The privacy and security of our users is our top priority, and we abide by local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate,” Bytedance said in a statement at the time. (Source: Mint)

Biz payments startup PayMate raises $25 million from Visa, others

Business payments startup PayMate said it has raised funds from international card payments giant Visa Inc., among others to accelerate growth and expand its business overseas.

Other new investors who took part in the ongoing $25 million Series D funding round Recruit Strategic Partners, the venture capital arm of Japanese human resources firm Recruit Holdings; and Brand Capital, the investment arm of media conglomerate Times Group. Existing investor Mayfair 101, an Australian corporate advisory firm, also participated. “We have raised a significant portion of the $25 million, and plan to complete the fundraise in the next 60 days,” Ajay Adiseshann, founder and chief executive officer, PayMate said in a phone interview.

PayMate’s cloud-based platform enables enterprise and small and medium businesses to automate and digitize their entire procurement to payment cycle, including vendor management, vendor payments, invoicing and supply chain financing options.

Between 2011 and 2013, it gradually pivoted towards targeting businesses since “enterprises are more reliable, have longer sales cycles, and we found more use cases for businesses,” said Adiseshann. (Source: Hindustan Times)

Voda Idea asked to pay ₹8.5L in SIM swap fraud

Vodafone Idea has been ordered to compensate a bank fraud victim Rs 8.5 lakh for not following “reasonable security” practices in issuing a duplicate SIM card, which led to the duping. The order was issued by the Maharastra government’s adjudicating officer (information technology). The complaint filed was in June 2015 by a Nashik company, Daffodils Furnishing, against Idea Cellular, RBL Bank and ICICI Bank. The principal secretary in the state government plays the role of adjudicating officer.

The case is yet another instance where a bank’s dependence on the registered mobile number for authentication has resulted in a fraud. While the company has argued that issuance of a duplicate SIM is a telecom dispute, the adjudicating authority has held it liable, stating that “a SIM card is an absolute key to a customer’s sensitive and personal information” and that the number can be used to access bank details.

According to the victim’s lawyer, Prashant Mali, who specialises in cyber law, telecom companies should be sensitive about phone numbers being linked to bank accounts. “Telecom companies should make their KYC process strong and if possible, should move to E-KYC,” S V R Srinivas, the adjudicating officer, said in the order. According to the complaint filed by Daffodils Furnishing, Rs 3.3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh were illegally debited from their account in two transactions and the money was transferred to a beneficiary in ICICI Bank. The order, however, notes that it is not established how the fraudsters managed to access the victim’s netbanking. While the banks have said that the complainant might have shared his password or responded to a phishing email, this has not been established. The order also suggested that banks add another layer of security in their communication to customers. Vodafone Idea was held liable because it was established that the application for a duplicate SIM was a fraudulent one. (Source: Times of India)

TV & Radio Companies Want Broadcast Policy to Protect Media Freedom

Broadcasters in a submission to the I&B ministry have also suggested that the sector should have a regulator of its own. The National Broadcast Policy that the information and broadcasting ministry is working on should safeguard media freedom, TV and radio companies have told the government. They have also suggested that the sector should have a regulator of its own, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The I&B ministry has stepped up work on the policy, expected to be announced in the next few months, which will involve a review of all major rules, with a focus on increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the area.

Threats of legal action “with punitive damages under the laws of defamation lead to a chilling effect on the publication of free and independent news and put undue pressure on journalists,” the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) told the ministry in its submission, ET has learnt. The policy should ensure a safe environment for journalists and the news media industry, it has said.

The foundation has also asked for the defamation law to be “reworked” to protect news channels. Several journalists’ organisations have previously protested against the continued criminalisation of defamation in India, saying this was a holdover from the colonial era and needed reform. A ministry official told ET that views were being sought from broadcasters and that the policy will mainly aim to remove regulatory barriers and reduce the obstacles for “investments, innovation and consumer interest”. The ministry also plans to collect views from content aggregators, distribution platform operators, infrastructure providers, manufacturers of equipment installed at the consumer end and other related devices, the academic community, innovators and startups.

The broadcasters have told the ministry that news media regulations in India are not unified. Multiple regulatory bodies have led to issues over the enforceability of decisions, they have said. A single law with one dedicated regulatory body needs to be devised exclusively for the broadcasting sector.

Apart from the IBF, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI) have held meetings with government officials on the proposed policy in the past few days.

An IBF member confirmed consultations with ministry officials had commenced a few days ago.

“The freedom of the news channels serve the larger purpose of the right of the people to be informed of a broad spectrum of facts, views and opinions,” the IBF told the ministry, according one of the persons cited above. “The survival of Indian democracy owes a great deal to the freedom of our press. The National Broadcast Policy should provide protection to news channels and (their) journalists as an essential part of the freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.”

The submission by private radio operators is said to be similar in nature. Allowing private FM channels to broadcast news is the top demand, said AROI secretary general Uday Chawla. They currently have to carry All India Radio bulletins either live or deferred by 30 minutes. “Though AIR gives us the news for free, many of us don't use it because the format is not exciting. We would want freedom to play news reports and also have self-regulation,” Chawla told ET.

The IBF wants a dedicated regulator.
“There is a need for the government to establish a distinct and separate regulator that is staffed by experienced industry professionals who understand the broadcasting sector,” an IBF member said. “The policy should provide for a Broadcast Services Regulatory Authority (BSRA) and a Broadcast Services Appellate Tribunal (BSAT) as a part of sectoral regulators.” Some of the other demands include implementation of transparent and timebound registration, licensing and approval process, a single-window clearance system to reduce timelines, as well as simplification and reduction of regulatory compliances.

The policy will also seek to revamp state-run Prasar Bharati to improve standards besides cracking down on digital piracy and ensuring protection of intellectual property and copyright, a top government official said. It will also deal with sharing of infrastructure across platforms and promoting the indigenous production of consumer hardware to promote Make in India. A review of existing FDI policies to attract investment as well as startups to establish manufacturing facilities has also been proposed by the government.

The government has also been asked to allow a self-regulation code for content production and distribution for video streaming by overthe-top (OTT) services. Broadcasters have also sought recognition for industry self-regulatory bodies such as News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA). (Source: Economic Times)

Xiaomi May Discontinue Poco Brand

Xiaomi may well be looking at killing its sub-brand Poco, say analysts, with one of the top executives responsible for its development quitting amid the Chinese handset maker's renewed push on the mid-to-premium price segment through another subbrand, Redmi. This price segment was previously catered through the Poco sub-brand.

Manu Jain, Xiaomi’s India head and international vice president, was non-committal on Poco's future. “We will not be able to answer it (question) right now,” he told ET.

“Whether the products are coming in brands or series... of course, we are working on something but what are those products and when will they come, we will not be able to share those details.”

But, in a separate emailed response, a spokesperson for India’s smartphone market leader, said, “For Poco, nothing changes because of an executive leaving and work will go on as planned”. Jai Mani, head of product of the POCO division, has recently quit the company.

But analysts said that in the new scheme of things, where Redmi and Mi are now a definite positioning from Xiaomi, Poco was overlapping, and thereby killing the sub-brand would make absolute sense.

“Poco was launched to give highend chosen few specs at mid-range prices, with clear compromises on design language. It was launched as an upgrade option for large Xiaomi base without breaking bank required to buy a flagship phone. It saw a mixed response really,” said Navkendar Singh, research director at IDC India.

“But now, with this aggressive pricing of K series by Xiaomi with its absolute flagship specs, hardware, and design, the reason for the existence of Poco as a brand is in doubt,” he added. (Source: Economic Times)

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