Convergence Plus
Friday, January 24, 2020
IT Ministry, Google tie up for 'Build for Digital India'

Ongoing efforts by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) to encourage production of socially beneficial products have got a fresh fillip and recognition, as the Union Government has joined hands with Google to mobilise engineering students for innovative solutions.

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Google India have tied up under a six-month programme that features learning and mentorship activities.

The programme, christened ‘Build for Digital India’, will see Google providing mentorship by its officials as well as other experts, said Siddhant Agarwal, Programme Coordinator, Google Developer Relations at the KSUM-organised IEDC (Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre) Summit held at Kodakara near Thrissur.

The deadline for ‘Build for Digital India’ is October 31, he told the 4,000 delegates and 100 startups at the conclave in Sahrdaya College of Engineering and Technology. The details are available at

Agarwal noted that India has a good number of nascent firms that provide solutions for problems related to society at a large. He particularly lauded startups such Genrobotics that make the popular Spandan robotic scavenger (which can detect cardiac problems in advance) and the breast cancer-screening device called NIRAMAI besides AIR-INK that makes ink from gaseous effluents generated by air pollution due to incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.

Earlier in his inaugural address, KSUM Chief Executive Saji Gopinath said that entrepreneurship is in itself primarily driven by people’s knowledge and passion for innovation. The major secret behind the success of entrepreneurship such as Facebook and Amazon is that they addressed hidden problem that had been there for years. (Source: The Hindu Businesline)

Kaspersky to set up data centre, transparency facility in India next year

To conform to the provisions of likely cyber security policy. Moscow-headquartered cyber security solutions company Kaspersky will set up a data centre and a Transparency Centre in India to conform to the likely cyber security policy that will mandate firms to store and process data locally.

“We will study the policy and will plan the data centre accordingly. The proposed centre will be on the lines of the one it set up in Zurich (Switzerland),” Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director of Kaspersky (Asia Pacific), has said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference focussed on the security for the healthcare sector here, Stephan said India, actually, was considered as a top-2 prospective location for APAC’s first Transparency Centre. “We recently set it up in Kaula Lumpur (Malayasia). But the new upcoming Indian policy on cyber security would require us to invest on a facility to store and process the data that we generate locally,” he said.

The APAC centre is the third for Kaspersky after Zurich and Madrid. The proposed centre will help Kaspersky’s clients to see the source code and have a look at its products, software updates and threat detection rules. It will also throws light on its data processing practices.

Enterprise market
The firm, which is a top-2 cyber security provider in the consumer market in India, has increased its focus on the enterprise segment. “We are among the top-4 players in the business-to-business segment. In the small and medium sector space, we are number 3,” he said.

“The share of consumer business, which used to be about 70 per cent three years ago, is about 50 per cent now in South Asia after our focus on enterprise increased. In India, we have emerged as a strong alternative to the Western players in the space,” he said.

With regard to solutions to the healthcare industry, he said the firm is in talks with top hospitals in South India to provide cyber security protection. “We are working with vendors of Internet of Things players, mobile and router makers to embed its protection solutions,” he said. (Source: The HindubusinesLine)

LocalCircles Highlights Data Misuse Worries

Platform says govt can have right over data only in event of law and order situation, enforcement matter. LocalCircles, a community social media platform that claims to host over 30,000 startups and entrepreneurs, has written to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) about some “confusion” over which ministry is working on the anonymised data policy.

It was earlier in correspondence with the commerce ministry regarding the data policy.

In a letter sent last week, LocalCircles said the government can have a right over the aggregate data of businesses only in the event of a law and order situation, an investigation or an enforcement matter. For routine matters, the government should not have access to either the aggregate data or the algorithms used by a business as “such an access can be easily misused or compromised,” it said in the letter, which ET has reviewed.

MeitY sought select stakeholder comments last month on the contours of a proposed policy governing public, community or anonymised data. “Businesses spend significant amounts of resources to collect data, build products and services and a market, and for many businesses aggregate data is the core of it and they must protect it to protect their value proposition and the business itself,” it said in the letter.

LocalCircles has conducted surveys on the issues in which 6,000 startups had participated and the contents of the letter reflect their majority opinion, its chief Sachin Taparia wrote.

In the latest request for feedback sent in August, MeitY had asked if there was a case to mandate free access to community, anonymised or ecommerce data, among others. It asked whether the Data Protection Authority should be the regulator in respect of all non-personal data. It also sought feedback on storing personal data in India and gave stakeholders a week to respond.

ET has learnt that some stakeholders have responded by asking the government not to club non-personal data with the personal data protection bill and to hold wide-scale public consultation before coming up with a policy on such a complicated subject. They have asked the government not to force businesses to share such data and instead create incentives for companies to share it voluntarily. “India’s business or anonymised data policy must be such that it enables Indian startups to benefit from aggregate data of government, communities and large corporations,” the letter by LocalCircles added. (Source: Economic Times)

Twitter CEO's hacked account sends racist tweets before being secured

‘No indication that Twitter's systems had been compromised’ The account of Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey was hacked on Friday afternoon, sending public tweets and retweets including racial slurs and curse words to 4 million followers before Twitter secured the account.

The social media company, co-founded by Dorsey, said the phone number associated with his account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider. “This allowed an unauthorised person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number. That issue is now resolved,” the company said, adding separately that there was no indication that Twitter's systems had been compromised.

One of the tweets from the hacked account said Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was innocent, while others contained derogatory comments about black people and Jews. There was also a tweet suggesting there was a bomb at Twitter's headquarters. The account posted a hashtag that was used during the apparent hacks of several YouTube stars last week.

The hack underscored potential vulnerabilities in the social media platform, which is widely used by world leaders and politicians, including US President Donald Trump. It comes at a time when social media companies are facing scrutiny over management of their networks, privacy issues and security of user data.

The offensive tweets and retweets were deleted less than an hour after the incident. Some Twitter accounts named in the compromised tweets and retweets appeared suspended on Friday.

Screenshots of the tweets appeared to show they were sent through Cloudhopper, a mobile text messaging service that Twitter acquired in 2010. Twitter did not immediately respond when asked to confirm if the hack took place via Cloudhopper.

Security researcher Brian Krebs said it appeared that Dorsey was the victim of a SIM swapping attack in which a mobile provider is tricked or otherwise convinced to transfer a victim's phone number to a SIM card controlled by someone else.

The Friday incident was not the first time that Dorsey's Twitter account has been hacked. His account was compromised in 2016 by a group that also hacked the Twitter accounts of Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter shares were down less than 1 per cent in after-hours trade following the hack. (Source: The Businessline)

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)

DoT likely to start tracking system for lost mobiles next month

The government will launch a technology solution next month to enable detection of lost or stolen mobile phones that are operating in the country, an official said.

Stolen mobile The tracking system would make the detection of stolen mobile phones possible even if the SIM card is removed or unique code IMEI number is changed, the official revealed. The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is ready with the technology and the service is expected to be launched in August.

“C-DoT is ready with the technology. The telecom department will approach the minister for its launch after the Parliament session. It should be launched in the next month,” a DoT official told PTI. The ongoing Parliament session will run till July 26.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) had assigned the mobile phone tracking project “Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)” aimed at bringing down counterfeit cellphones and discouraging theft to C-DoT in July 2017. The government has proposed to allocate Rs 15 crore for setting up CEIR in the country that will bring down the number of counterfeit handsets and discourage theft.

Lawful interception
The CEIR system will block all services on stolen or lost mobile phones on any network even if the SIM card is removed or IMEI number of the handset is changed. The system is also expected to protect consumer interest and facilitate law enforcement authorities for lawful interception.

It will connect the IMEI database of all mobile operators. It will act as a central system for all network operators to share blacklisted mobile terminals so that devices placed under the said category in one network will not work on the other, even if the SIM card in the device is changed, it said.

IMEI number - a unique 15-digit serial number of mobile devices - is allocated by global industry body GSMA and bodies authorised by it. When a mobile phone is lost, the victim is required to mention the IMEI number of the handset for tracking.” The pilot project (of CEIR) was carried out in Maharashtra,” the official said. (Source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

Online retailers must check authenticity, trademark registration of products they sell

Marketplaces cannot seek refuge under Section 79 of the IT Act 2000, say experts. Online websites may now have to check the authenticity and trademark registration of the products they sell. This emerged in a recent case filed by Metro Shoes in the Bombay High Court against few online marketplaces run by companies including Reliance Retail, India Mart and Just Dial.

Metro Shoes, one of the oldest footwear brands in Mumbai, had approached the HC against footwear manufacturers who were selling their products on several websites with a brand name that resembled the ‘Metro’ trademark. The HC held that goods being sold by suppliers with a trade mark similar to ‘Metro’ were fake following which the Websites agreed to take them down. Also, the websites were made to donate to charity organisations as a remedial measure for their ignorance.

“The Metro Shoes case shows that the online market place or platforms can no longer always hide behind the veil of Section 79 of the Information Technology Act 2000, which states that intermediaries cannot be held liable for third party information, data or communication links. They will have to check authenticity of products as well as trademark registration or face strictures in future,” said Avesh Kayser, senior counsel for Metro Shoes.

Reliance Brands, which has a long-term licensing agreement with Nasdaq-listed footwear and accessories firm Steven Madden was using “Metro” brand as part of some products. After the case was filed in the Bombay HC, both Reliance Retail and Reliance Brands undertook to pay total cost of ₹10 lakh to Fellowship of the Physically Handicapped.

Similarly, Metro Shoes told the HC that Shoe Station and Foothold Shoes had infringed on its trademarks and were selling goods under the brand name ‘Metrox.’ The HC held the goods being sold by Shoe Station and Foothold Shoes were counterfeit following which the entities involved in selling such products online (through Just Dial and IndiaMart) agreed to pay ₹15 lakh to the Society for Rehabilitation of Crippled Children and remove the goods from their platform.

In another case involving Christian Louboutin Sas Vs. Nakul Bajaj and others, the Delhi HC had recently clarified that an e-commerce platform cannot claim to be just an intermediary under Section 79 of the IT Act, if it has played an active role in enabling the violation. In these cases, the High Courts observed that websites are precluded from the safe harbour offered by Section 79 as they identify, promote third parties to sell their products on their sites and therefore have full control over the products being sold on their platform, Kayser said. If online retailers and marketplaces neglect to watch ‘due diligence’ concerning IPR, it could add up to ‘planning, supporting, abetting or inciting’ unlawful activities and hence they cannot seek refuge under Section 79, experts said. (Source:The Hindu BusinessLine)

IT industry, startups meet MoS Finance Anurag Thakur to discuss data protection and tax issues

Industry bodies like NASSCOM, IAMAI and MAIT focussed on data issues such as use of Big Data technology in improving the forecasting of economic, financial, climatic etc phenomena.

Ahead of the Budget, representatives of tech sector and industry bodies like NASSCOM, IAMAI and MAIT met Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Saturday to discuss various issues, including tax structure, and share their views on strengthening digital economy.

The pre-Budget consultation meeting also focussed on data issues such as use of Big Data technology in improving the forecasting of economic, financial, climatic etc phenomena by analysing large data sets, for providing a fillip to the SME sector and for public governance, as per an official statement.

Other issues, which dominated the discussion, included digital infrastructure and role of government, regulation of digital economy especially in privacy, consumer protection and financial regulation and software as service among others, the statement said. The meeting was also attended by officials from the Finance Ministry, Electronics & IT Ministry, Department of Telecommunications, CBDT and others. "The representatives of digital economy and start-ups shared their views and suggestions regarding Big Data, data mining, building of digital infrastructure as the big challenge before Indian economy besides scaling-up and incentivising Research & Development (R&D) within India. While the experts discussed the issues ailing their respective fields, they also suggested a variety of solutions to the sector specific problems," the statement said.

Development of startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) ecosystem in the country also featured in various suggestions, it added. The representatives gave suggestions related to angel tax, differential tax structure for assembled and manufactured goods, industry-friendly review of spectrum auction norms, reduction of dependence on international software service, continuation of existing tax benefits to digital companies, reduction in Corporate Tax, among others. "We urged the government to deal with the angel tax issue urgently. In February, the government had considered Section 56 (2) of the Income Tax but notices have been served under Section 68," Internet and Mobile Association of India President Subho Ray told PTI.

He added that the association also pointed out that a CBDT paper has proposed that for foreign digital companies, their user base also be used as a factor with high weightage among parameters like assets and revenue for profit attribution. "This, we believe, is not only unfair to foreign digital companies operating in India but fear that the same parameter could be extended to domestic players as well. In a country like India that is rapidly adopting digital platforms, such a move would be a slippery slope for growth," he said.

IT body Nasscom has urged the government to continue the tax incentives to units in special economic zones beyond March 2020, saying that such a move will provide industry with certainty and enable them to invest in long-term strategy.

The body - which represents an industry that earns over USD 130 billion in foreign exchange - has suggested that the new tax-friendly SEZ policy should retain existing tax benefits and provide concessional rate of 9 per cent Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT).

Other participants included representatives from Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (TEMA), Broadband India Forum, Electronic and Computer Software Export Promotion Council, Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT); ELCINA (Electronic Industries Association of India), and Indian Cellular and Electronics Association. (Source: New India Express)

India preparing to tackle Japan on proposed e-comm rules at G-20 meet

Vodafone CEO raises embarrassing issues for govt: Will Trai ever get it right?If G-20 declaration in Osaka talks favourably about global norms , the pressure on India and other non-participating WTO members will increase to join negotiations. India is preparing its arguments against framing of global rules on e-commerce and digital economy that Japan would want to be included in the G-20 declaration in Osaka in June .

“Japan has already indicated its intention to push for framing of global rules on e-commerce. Since it is the chair of the G-20, it is likely that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will try hard to ensure that the declaration adopted at the end of the meet articulates the intention of all members to work towards a multilateral agreement on e-commerce,” a government official told BusinessLine.

New Delhi cannot allow e-commerce to be part of the G-20 declaration as it has been fighting hard to keep it off the negotiating table at the World Trade Organization. Although the announcement on launch of plurilateral talks on e-commerce between 75 countries was made at the World Economic Forum in Davos this January, India decided not to be even an observer at the talks.

In his speech at Davos, Abe had said that the G-20 meet in his country would seek to rebuild trust towards the system of global trade and would focus on areas such as e-commerce and intellectual property.

“If the G-20 declaration in Osaka talks favourably about global rules on e-commerce, the pressure on India and other non-participating members of the WTO will increase to include themselves in the negotiations. This is how the developed world behaves. It raises and makes a point about an issue at the G-20 and later tries to get it accepted at the WTO,” the official said.

Indiahas a clear and unwavering stand on the matter. At a meeting on e-commerce last October at the WTO, India’s representative reportedly stated that developing countries cannot take on global commitments as they needed policy space in areas such as ownership and use and flow of data in sunrise sectors like cloud computing and data storage.

The Centre has floated a draft e-commerce policy which has not gone down well with foreign players such as Amazon and Walmart as it puts a number of restrictions on their operations. It has suggested that all e-commerce websites should have a registered business entity in India and all product shipments from overseas must be channelised through the customs. It is also categorical that FDI should be encouraged only in the marketplace model.

India’s e-commerce market, currently valued at about $ 27 billion, is one of the fastest growing in the world. (source: The Hindu BusinessLine)

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