[July 8-15] CCG’s Week in Review: Curated News in Information Law and Policy

The Parliament passed the Aadhaar Amendment Bill, expected to have a far-reaching impact on data sharing with private companies and State Governments; France rolled out a new “digital tax” for Big Tech, Facebook slapped with a massive $5bn fine by the US FTC, while uncertainty over Huawei’s inclusion in India’s 5G trials deepens  — presenting this week’s most important developments in law and tech.

In focus this week: opinions and analyses of the Defence Budget for 2019-20.

Aadhaar

  • [July 8] Parliament passes Aadhaar amendment bill, The Hindu Business Line report.
  • [July 8] RS clears bill on voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof, Live Mint report.
  • [July 8] Techie moves Madras High Court assailing compulsory linking of Aadhaar with Universal Account Number (UAN) to avail EPFO pension, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 9] You are not bound to share Aadhaar data with schools, banks and telcos, DNA India report.
  • [July 9] ‘Ordinance on Aadhaar use doesn’t survive as House has cleared the Bill’: Centre tells SC, The Hindu report.
  • [July 10] Aadhaar Bill passage in Parliament: New clause helps secure non-NDA votes, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 11] PAN not linked to Aadhaar will become invalid from September, Business Standard report.
  • [July 11] Aadhaar amendments: New clause to allow use of Aadhaar data for state schemes, Live Mint report.
  • [July 11] Amendment: no Aadhaar for mobile wallet firms, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 11] All your Aadhaar fears are coming true in Assam, HuffPost India report.
  • [July 13] Rajya Sabha passes Aadhaar amendment Bill, allows to file complaint in case of security breach, India Today report.
  • [July 14] You may soon have to pay Rs. 10,000 as fine for entering wrong Aadhaar number for transactions, New 18 report.

Free Speech

  • [July 9] Twitter backs off broad limits on ‘Dehumanizing Speech’, The New York Times report.
  • [July 10] TikTok influencers charged for hate speech and attempting to incite communal violence, Business Insider report.
  • [July 13] White House Social Media recap, National Public Radio report, CNN report, The New York Times report, Engadget report. The Verge report.
  • [July 13] FIRs against 10 for poems that try to ‘hinder NRC’ in Assam, Times of India report.
  • [July 15] RSS wing calls for TikTok, Helo ban, The Economic Times report.

Data Protection

  • [July 8] Indian parliament members call for Data Protection Bill and TikTok ban, Inc42 report.
  • [July 8] British Airways fined record 183 million for data breach involving 500,000 customers: report, Medianama report, BBC report.
  • [July 9] Digital data protection to be a fundamental right in Brazil as amendment to constitution is approved, Medianama report.
  • [July 12] Not ‘Okay Google’: Firms admits that workers listen to audio from Assistant, Home, Medianama report, Fox News report, VRT News report.
  • [July 12] Google data breach faces review by Irish privacy watchdog, Bloomberg report.
  • [July 13] Facebook fined $ 5 billion by US regulators over privacy and data protection lapses, News 18 report, The Hindu Business Line report.
  • [July 13] Indian Govt is selling vehicle owner data to companies and citizens don’t have a clue, Inc42 report, Entrackr report.
  • [July 15] Data protection law must be the same for both private and government players, The New Indian Express report.

Digital India

  • [July 15] PMO panel seeks multinational companies’ inputs on making India electronics hub, ET Telecom report.

Data Localisation and E-Commerce

  • [July 11] Gautam Adani woos Amazon and Google with Indian data hubs, ET Telecom report.
  • [July 9] A tug of war hots the draft e-commerce policy. US tech giants want leeway in data localisation, ET Prime report. [paywall]
  • [July 15] Delhi and Bengaluru customs stop clearing ‘gifts’, Economic Times report, Medianama report.

Telecom/5G

  • [July 15] Inter-ministerial panel clears draft RFP to select auctioneer for 2019 spectrum sale, ET Telecom report.

More on Huawei

  • [July 10] Huawei makes Monaco world’s fully 5G country, Live Mint report.
  • [July 10] Huawei ban eased but tech can’t relax, Financial Times report.
  • [July 11] NSAB members, Chinese diplomat cross swords over Huawei, Indian Express report.
  • [July 12] Doubts over Huawei’s participation in India’s 5G rollout deepen, Live Mint report, NDTV Gadgets 360 report.
  • [July 14] Huawei plans extensive layoffs at its US operations, Live Mint report, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 13] US tells Britain: Fall in line over China and Huawei, or no trade deal, The Telegraph report
  • [July 14] US seeks to discredit UK spies in war against Huawei, The Times UK report.

Big Tech: Regulation

  • [July 11] France passes law taxing digital giants in defiance of US anger, Agence France Presse report.
  • [July 10] US Announces Inquiry of French Digital Tax that may end in tariffs, The New York Times report.

Cryptocurrencies

  • [July 9] Indian govt to educate top cops on cryptocurrencies, aiming to investigate crypto matters, CrytpoNewZ report.
  • [July 9] Facebook to Senators: Libra crypto will respect privacy, Coin Desk report.
  • [July 11] Winklevoss-backed crypto self-regulatory group prepares to woo congress, Coin Desk report.
  • [July 12] Japanese crypto exchange hacked, loses $ 32 million, The Hindu Business Line report, Coin Telegraph report.
  • [July 13] Study exposes how Russia, Iran and China are weaponizing crypto, CNN report.
  • [July 13] China’s illegal crypto mining crackdown could ignite a bitcoin price rally, CNN report.
  • [July 15] IRS confirms it trained staff to find crypto wallets, Coin Desk report.

Emerging Tech

  • [July 9] AI in cybersecurity expected to surpass $38 billion, Security Boulevard report.
  • [July 14] How aritifical intelligence is solving different business problems, Financial Express report.
  • [July 14] Why AI is the future of cybersecurity, Forbes report.

Cybersecurity

  • [July 8] Chinese hackers demonstrate their global cyber espionage reach with breach at 10 of the world’s biggest telecoms, CPO Magazine report.
  • [July 12] Businesses in India tapping AI to improve cybersecurity, The Economic Times report, Fortune India report.
  • [July 15] Indian IT managers facing budget crunch for cybersecurity, The Economic Times report.

Tech and Law Enforcement: Surveillance and Cyber Crime

  • [July 8] NCRB invites bids to implement Automated Facial Recognition System, Medianama report.
  • [July 9]  The chase gets a lot easier for tech-wielding cops now, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 9] Delhi government begins installing CCTV cameras inside classrooms to prevent crime: report, Medianama report. Times now News report.
  • [July 10] Instagram announces two new anti-bullying features, Instagram’s announcement, Thw Wall Street Journal report, Medianama report.
  • [July 11] WhatsApp messages can be traced without diluting encryption, Zee News report.
  • [July 12] New POCSO bill to expand child porn definition to include anime, adults posing depicting children, Medianma report, Hindustan Times report.
  • [July 12] SC refuses to stay installation of CCTV cameras in Delhi Government schools, Medianama report, Bar & Bench report.

Tech and Military

  • [July 8] Japan-India security cooperation: Asian giants to expand their relations to Space, Financial Express report.
  • [July 8] Bill to tag individuals as ‘terrorist’ introduced in LS, Opposition protests: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Amendment Bill, 2019, Business Standard report
  • [July 8] Government introduces Bill in Lok Sabha to amend National Investigation Agency Act, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 8] Govt to procure 1.86 lakh bullet proof jackets by April next, The Hindu Business Line report.
  • [July 8] India, Russia agree on new payment mode for S-400 deal to get around US sanctions, The Print report.
  • [July 9] National e-Governance Division to revamp management app for the army, The Week report.
  • [July 9] Amazon, Microsoft wage war over the Pentagon’s ‘war cloud’,  NDTV Gadgets 360 report
  • [July 10] Last chance to get tech: Navy says negotiating next 6 subs to take years, Business Standard report.
  • [July 10] Tactical communications market size in the US region is projected to experience substantial proceeds by 2024, Tech Mag report.
  • [July 11] Govt says looking at tech to seal northern and eastern borders, Live Mint report.
  • [July 11] Army man arrested for leaking info on national security, The Tribune report.
  • [July 12] Wait for sniper rifles gets longer, MoD retracts the RFP issued last year, Financial Express report.
  • [July 12] India, Russia discuss space cooperation, The Hindu report
  • [July 12] Israel arms company signs $100 million missile deal with Indian army, Middle East Monitor report.

Defense Budget: Reports and Analyses

  • [July 8] Budget 2019: India redirects foreign aid to Indian ocean countries, NSCS expenditure hiked, Business Standard report.
  • [July 8] Laxman K Behera, Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, India’s Defence budget 2019-20.
  • [July 8] PK Vasudeva, Deccan Herald, An alarming fall: Defence Budget 2019-20.
  • [July 8] Mihir S Sharma, Business Standard, Budget 2019: India won’t become a superpower with these allocations.
  • [July 9] PRS Legislative Research’s analysis: Ministry of Defence Demands for Grants 2019-20.
  • [July 9] Why Sitharaman’s budgetary allocation is unlikely to satisfy defence establishment, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 10] Brahma Chellaney, Hindustan Times, India’s defence planning has no clear strategic direction.
  • [July 10] Harsh V Pant, Live Mint Opinion, We need not whine about India’s small defence budget.
  • [July 12] Commodore Anil Jai Singh, Financial Express, Budget 2019: Optimising the Defence Budget and the need for organizational reform.
  • [July 13] Shekhar Gupta, The Print, Modi isn’t about to change India into national security state like Pakistan and bankrupt it.
  • [July 13] Budget 2019: Cybersecurity – a holy grail for government’s Digital India dream, Financial Express analysis.
  • [July 15] Ravi Shanker Kapoor, News 18 Opinion, Cost of not carrying out economic reforms: acute shortage of funds for military modernization.

Opinions and Anlayses

  • [July 8] Adam Bemma, Al Jazeera, Is Sri Lanka using the Easter attacks to limit digital freedom?
  • [July 9] Dr M Suresh Babu and Dr K Bhavana Raj, The Hans India, Data Protection Bill – boon or bane for digital economy?
  • [July 8] Walter Olson, The CATO Institute blog, One year later, the harms of Europe’s data-privacy law.
  • [July 8]  Jack Parrock, Euro News, The Brief: Data privacy v. surveillance transatlantic clash.
  • [July 9] Abhijit Mukhopadhyaya and Nishant Jha, ORF, Amidst US-China standoff Huawei battles for survival.
  • [July 10] Kuldip Kunmar, The Economic Times, Budget 2019 shows govt’s will to use Aadhaar to track financial transactions.
  • [July 11] Darryn Pollock, Forbes, Is Facebook forming a crypto mafia as Libra foundation members boost each other’s businesses?
  • [July 12] Amitendu Palit, Financial Express, India ditches data dialogue again.
  • [July 12] Shantanu Roy-Chaudhary, The Diplomat, India-China-Sri Lanka Triangle: The Defense Dimension.
  • [July 12] Richard A Clarke and Robert K Knake, The Wall Street Journal, US companies learn to defend themselves in cyberspace.
  • [July 12] Simon Chandler, Coin Telegraph, US Sanctions on Iran Crypto Mining— Inevitable or Impossible?
  • [July 12] Shekhar Chnadra, Scientific American, What to expect from India’s second Moon mission.
  • [July 14] Agnidipto Tarafder and Siddharth Sonkar, The Wire, Will the Aadhaar Amendment Bill Pass Judicial Scrutiny?
  • [July 14] Scott Williams, Live Wire, Your crypto overlords are coming…
  • [July 15] Why Google cloud hasn’t picked up yet in India, ET Telecom report
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[July 1-July 8] CCG’s Week in Review: Curated News in Information Law and Policy

The Union Budget for 2019-2020 brought with it a boost for using Aadhaar to file I-T returns amid escalating privacy concerns, but disappointed those hoping for larger allocations to modernisation of the armed forces. As the uncertainty over Huawei’s inclusion in 5G trials continues — presenting this week’s most important developments in law and tech.

Aadhaar

  • [July 4] Aadhaar bill seeking its use as ID to open bank account passes in Lok Sabha, India today report.
  • [July 4] UIDAI sets up first Aadhaar centres in Delhi and Vijayawada, to set up 114 more centres in 2019, Medianama report.
  • [July 5] Aadhaar ordinance: SC asks Centre, UIDAI to respond to writ petition, The Hindu report; The Economic Times report; Medianma report.
  • [July 6] Budget eases criteria of obtaining Aadhaar for NRIs with Indian passport, Business Standard report.
  • [July 6] Budget 2019 proposes to make PAN, Aadhaar interchangeable; soon you can file ITR using either of these, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 6] J&K Government approves Aadhaar linked payment mode for disbursal of pension, Business Standard report.
  • [July 7] Economic survey has based Aadhaar impact on MGNREGS on false assumptions, say researchers, The Hindu report.
  • [July 8] I-T to allot PAN to those filing returns only with Aadhaar, Live Mint report.

Internet Shutdowns

  • [July 2] India saw 11 internet shutdowns in June, 59 so far in 2019, Medianama report.
  • [July 4] Internet services in Jaipur set to resume today; parts of the city had been offline after rape of minor, Medianama report.
  • [July 4] Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp back after 8-hour outage that left users unable to upload photos, videos, Medianama report.
  • [July 5] Following communal violence, internet remains closed in Agra, India today report.

Free Speech

  • [July 3] Centre has no plans to scrap sedition law, Minister tells Rajya Sabha; The Hindu report.
  • [July 5] MDMK Chief vaiko convicted in sedition case, sentenced to one year imprisonment, The Hindu Business Line report.

Data Protection

  • [July 1] Data Protection Bill: MHA wants insulation for security agencies, The Tribune report.
  • [July 2] TikTok illegally collecting data received by China, claims Shashi Tharoor, News18 report.
  • [July 2] Tik Tok under investigation in the UK over children’s data use, The Guardian report.
  • [July 2] China’s new data protection scheme, The Diplomat report.
  • [July 3] Comprehensive legislation on data privacy under formulation: Ravi Shankar Prasad; The Economic Times report.
  • [July 4] Won’t allow abuse of Indian data by foreign powers or companies, says RS Prasad in Rajya Sabha , Medianama report.
  • [July 5] Govt needs to leverage data as public good to boost welfare of poor, Live Mint report.
  • [July 6] Economic Survey pushes for interlinking and selling citizens’ data for private purposes: Rethink Aadhaar, Money Life report.

Digital India

  • [July 4] Qualcomm India extends design challenge to MeitY supported startups, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 8] No incentive left for banks to push digital pay, fears fintech, ET Tech report.

Cryptocurrencies

  • [June 30] ‘Govt Screwed Us’ Crypto Startup Coin Recoil Founder Writes An Open Letter To PM. Inc42 report.
  • [July 2] Remaining crypto exchanges in India bet on global markets, ET Tech report.
  • [July 3] Bitcoin’s energy consumption ‘equals that of Switzerland’, BBC report.
  • [July 5] Indian authorities arrest 4 individuals accused of crypto ponzi scheme, Coin Telegraph report.
  • [July 5] US lawmakers tell Facebook to halt Libra as it risks undermining dollar and upending global financial system, Medianama report.
  • [July 7] New ECB boss Christine Lagarde made a serious Bitcoin warning, Forbes report.

Telecom/5G

  • [July 3] Samsung talks about its 5G solution, readiness to work with telecom operators in India, India Today report
  • [July 2] Samsung to ramp up Internet of Things business in India after 5G roll out, Times Now News reports

More on Huawei

  • [July 3] Despite Trump’s promised reprieve, Commerce Department tells staff to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted, Tech Crunch report.
  • [July 3] Indian companies supplying (US origin equipment)  to Huawei may face US sanctions: Govt, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 4] Donald trump eases off Huawei as forms discover holes in his export ban, The Economist’s analysis.
  • [July 4] India to decide on Huawei participation in 5G trial based on security and economic interests, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 5] Huawei disputes US cyber firm’s findings of flaws in gear, The Wall Street Journal report.
  • [July 6] Huawei employees linked to China’s military and intelligence, reports claim, Forbes report.
  • [July 6] Huawei is helping all the UK’s top carriers build their 5G networks, Engadget report.

Cybersecurity

  • [July 2] Air travel needs cybersecurity, now tighter than ever, Financial Express report.
  • [July 3] New Zealand updates its cybersecurity strategy, ZDNet report.
  • [July 3] Tech Mahindra, SSH to deploy cutting edge cybersecurity solutions to secure access control for enterprises, Dataquest India report.
  • [July 3] 25 Central, State govt websites hacked till May this year: Ravi Shankar Prasad; The economic Times report.
  • [July 5] Getting up to speed with AI and Cybersecurity, Tech radar explainer.
  • [July 5] The Biggest Cybersecurity Crises of 2019 so far, The Wired report.
  • [July 6] New ransomware named Sodin exploits Windows flaw identified by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, The Indian Wire report.

Cyberwarfare

  • [July 3] Suspected Iranian Cyber Attacks Show No sign of slowing, Defense One report.
  • [July 4] Report: Pentagon should assume US satellites are already hacked, Defense One report.

Surveillance/ Tech and Law Enforcement

  • [July 1] NSAB comes up with traceability to help Whatsapp, Economic Times report
  • [July 2] China snares tourists’ phones in surveillance dragnet by adding secret app, The New York Times report; Wired report; The Guardian report.

Tech and Military

  • [July 1] Indian Air Force orders Russian-made anti-tank missiles for USD 29 million, Jane’s Defence Weekly report.
  • [July 1] Modi govt spent Rs. 2.37 lakh crore on modernisation of armed forces in 4 years, Business Today report.
  • [July 2] India’s defence budget has nearly doubled in 5 years but the money is not enough to upgrade the weapons. Business Insider report.
  • [July 4] Funds shrinking, Army wants budget 2019 to make special allowance for GST, customs duties, The Print report.
  • [July 5] Budget 2019: Experts feel not much to change for armed forces, The New Indian Express report.
  • [July 5] 0.01% – The increase in defence allocation from interim budget as modernisation put on hold, News18 report.
  • [July 5] Budget 2019: Defence gets duty exemption on imports, no big allocation, say experts, Financial Express report; The Hindu report.
  • [July 5] India outlines progress in ‘Strategic Partner’ projects, Jane’s Defense Weekly report.
  • [July 5] Defence Ministry approves Army Headquarters restructuring plans: Gen Bipin Rawat, Business Standard report.
  • [July 6] Army, Nation e-Governance Division ink pact for developing revamped app, Money Control report.
  • [July 6] MBDA, French Army team develop AI based automatic target recognition by imaging system, Defense World report.
  • [July 7] Indian Army to buy American howitzer ammo for long-range accurate strikes, The Economic Times report.
  • [July 8] DRDO carries out three successful Nag tests in one day in Pokhran, The Economic Times report.

Opinions and Analyses

  • [July 1] Abhijit Kumar Dutta, Money Control, 5G test run: Is barring Huawei a good idea? Probably not.
  • [July 1] Maahi Mayuri, Mondaq News Alerts, India: Data Localisation: What’s in it for us?
  • [July 2] Allie Funk, Wired, I opted out of facial recognition at the airport – it wasn’t easy.
  • [July 3] Times of India editorial, Don’t hug Huawei: Beware of allowing Chinese firms entry into India’s 5G market.
  • [July 3] Amol Agarwal, Money Control, Facebook’s Libra currency – will it rewrite the crypto playbook?
  • [July 3] Harsh V Pant and Kartik Bommakanti, Observer Research Foundation, India’s national security challenge.
  • [July 3] Manas Chakravarty, Money Control, Why the US is targeting Huawei.
  • [July 3] India’s response to China’s cyber attacks, The Diplomat’s analysis.
  • [July 3] Rohan Venkatramakrishnan, Scroll.in, Where is the personal data protection that Indian were promised? 
  • [July 3] Business Standard editorial comment, The crypto challenge. [paywall]
  • [July 5] Key tech related takeaways from Union Budget 2019-20, Medianama summary.
  • [July 5] Afiya Qureshi, Mashable India, Indian Government plans to monitor the internet through a centralized system: should we worry?
  • [July 5] Pravin Sawhney, The Wire, Defence Budget: Skewed ratio of allocations hurts India’s war preparedness.
  • [July 5] Debajit Sarkar, Financial Express, Budget 2019: There is a need to boost defense expenditure.
  • [July 6] Sounak Mukherjee, Money Control, TMC MP Mahua Moitra’s privacy concerns on Aadhaar stand tall against FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2019 proposals,
  • [July 6] Ivan Mehta, The Next Web, India claims its Aadhaar push is for the ‘good’ of the people despite serious privacy concerns.
  • [July 6] Ilangovan Rajasekaran, Frontline, Conviction in sedition case will not affect Vaiko’s election to Rajya Sabha.
  • [July 7] Wired Opinion, How to protect our kids’ data and privacy.
  • [July 7] Sara Harrison, Wired, Twitter’s disinformation dumps are helpful – to a point.
  • [July 7] Lt. Gen. KJ Singh, Times of India (blog), Union Budget tells armed forces to cut the coat as per cloth.

[June 24-July 1] CCG’s Week in Review: Curated News in Information Law and Policy

With the G20 Summit in Osaka easing trade tensions between the US and China, India has seen a week of developing policy positions on data localisation, tech startups and the fate of telecom providers  — presenting this week’s most important developments in law and tech.

Aadhaar 

  • [June 24] New Aadhaar regulations by Government to bring it back in full force, will be voluntary, India Today report.
  • [June 24] Aadhaar bill introduced amid opposition protests, The Hindu report; Live Mint report.
  • [June 25] Bill on Aadhaar tabled, ‘doesn’t violate privacy’, The Tribune report.
  • [June 29] One nation, One ration card’ scheme from July 1, 2020, The Hindu report.

Internet Shutdown

  • [June 28] Myanmar: Internet Shutdown Risks Lives, Human Rights Watch report.

Free Speech

  • [June 27] Modi Government stops advertising in The Times Group, The Hindu and The Telegraph news paper, PGurus report;
  • [June 28] Modi Government freezes ads placed in Times of India, The Hindu and The Telegraph, The Wire report; The Deccan Herald report.

Data Protection

  • [June 24] UAE data protection law, similar to GDPR, likely landing this year, Tech Radar report.
  • [June 27] Home, IT Ministries discuss data protection bill, The Hindu report.
  • [June 27] National Centre being planned to hold and manage all public data, The Economic Times report; The Quint report.

Data Localisation

  • [June 26] Data storage rules out of e-commerce policy, Live Mint report; CNBC TV18 report; Medianama report.
  • [June 26] Government to decide if data issues need to be out of e-commerce policy, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 27] Personal data storage: Government not in a mood to dilute data localisation rule, Financial Express report.
  • [June 28] India stands by data localisation at G-20 summit, US opposes it, ETtech report.
  • [June 28] Data Localisation: What India can dictate, and what she can’t, Business Today report.
  • [June 29] India surrenders to US pressure on ‘data localisation’: Piyush Goyal and RBI send out confusing signals, National Herald report.

E-Commerce

  • [June 26] Not ready for global e-tail rules, India to tell G-20, ET Tech report.
  • [June 26] India to come out with national e-comm policy within 12 months: Piyush Goyal, ETtech report.
  • [June 27] The E-Commerce disaster that never was, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 30] Draft e-comm policy, data protection may figure at India-EU meet in Brussels on July 4, Your Story report.

Digital India

  • [June 26] Digital literacy drive needs more funds: MeitY, The Hindu Business Line report.
  • [June 27] RBI Committee recommends setting up Universal Enterprise ID, linkage across individual and enterprise PAN, Medianama report.
  • [June 27] MeitY expenditure under Digital India at Rs. 3,328 cr in 2018-19: Ravi Shankar Prasad, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 27] SEBI approves DVRs for tech startups, ETtech report
  • [June 28] Indian startups cheer differential voting rights, ETtech report.
  • [June 28] Nitin Gadkari proposed Alibaba like platform for MSME sector, Entrackr report.
  • [June 30] India’s OTT market will grow at 21.8% CAGR, PwC report says, ET Telecom report.

Cybersecurity

  • [June 25] Digital India’s response readiness against cyber attacks is frail, lack of online security awareness biggest weakness, Firstpost report.
  • [June 27] To avoid Huawei like situation, India plans desi WhatsApp for official communication ET Telecom report; Medianama’s take.
  • [June 28] Infosys cyber security unit sees rising demand as threats mount, ET Tech report.
  • [June 29] US FDA warns of cybersecurity risk to certain Medtronic insulin pumps. Live Mint report.
  • [June 29] Indian manufacturing industry at high cyber risk, The Asian Age report.
  • [June 29] Average DNS attack cost rises by 19% to $814,150 in APAC, ET Telecom report.
  • [July 1] As cyber attacks increase, Indian IT clients seek stricter contracts, more audits, ET Tech report.
  • [July 1] China increases cybersecurity industry development, Global Times report.

Telecom/5G

  • [June 24] DoT may move SC against Airtel, Tata Tele merger, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 26] Broadband forum seeks lower 5G spectrum prices, change in auction design, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 26] Government gets 6 proposals for 5G trials, including Huawei, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 27] Lack of 4G, staff costs slow down BSNL, MTNL, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 27] DoT, MeitY eye EU ‘toolbox’ to address 5G-related concerns, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 28] Telcos’ health needs to be vetted before 5G pricing, ET Tech report.
  • [June 28] Modi, Trump discuss India-US collaboration in 5G tech, ET Tech report.
  • [June 30] DoT will move cabinet with BSNL, MTNL package: Ravi Shankar Prasad, ET Telecom report.
  • [July 1] Ericsson, Nokia assure telcos of speedy 5G rollout, ET Telecom report.

More on Huawei

  • [June 24] Huawei offers to sign ‘no-backdoor’ pact with India govt, telcos to underline security commitment: CEO, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 24] UK’s approach to Huawei is flawed warns Ericsson’s US boss, Financial Times report.
  • [June 26] Nokia warns UK over using rival Huawei’s 5G kit, BBC report.
  • [June 26] Huawei claims 50 commercial 5G deals globally amid uncertainty in India, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 26] US-China trade war in 10 dates, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 26], Huawei’s telecom equipment is more likely to have flaws than rivals’ claims report by US cybersecurity company Finite State, Tech Radar report.
  • [June 26] India, US to discuss Huawei’s role in 5G trials, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 26] India may let Huawei conduct 5G trials defying trump ban, International Business Times report.
  • [June 27] Tech companies find legal ways around Huawei blacklist, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 27] Medianama’s Huawei roundup: Promise of ‘no backdoor’ pact, 5G trial proposal and more.
  • [June 27] Huawei personnel worked with China’s military on research projects, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 28] How the Huawei issue affects India, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 28] Nokia’s CTO slams Huawei after ‘potential backdoors’ found in 55% of its devices, Forbes report.
  • [June 29] Nokia distances itself from CTO comments about Huawei, Tech Radar report.
  • [June 28] As Trump and Xi talk trade. Huawei will loom large, The New York Times report.
  • [June 29] Trump surprises G20 with Huawei concession: US companies can sell to Huawei, Forbes report; Live Mint report.
  • [June 30] Huawei lifeline shows Trump prefers business deals over cold war, Live Mint report.
  • [July 1] Google gets nod to license Android for Huawei, ET Telecom report.

Big Tech

  • [June 26] Google accused of working to prevent Trump return in 2020, ET Tech report.
  • [June 26] Next Google Chrome browser extension to increase data protection, Mediapost report; Forbes report, Medianama report.
  • [June 26] Google and University of Chicago sued over data sharing, The New York Times report.
  • [June 28] Italy stings Facebook with $1.1 million fine for Cambridge Analytica data misuse, TechCrunch report.
  • [June 29] Google may have leveraged Android unfairly, says CCI, Inc42 report.
  • [June 30] Spotify leaking use data with music labels: Report, ET Telecom report.

Emerging Tech/ AI

  • [June 22] White House updated national artificial intelligence strategy, Defense One report.
  • [June 24] Tech Mahindra unveils AI-based Humanoid HR for its Noida facility, Business Standard report.
  • [June 25] IT firms are buying niche firms to grow in emerging areas like IOT, ET Tech report.
  • [June 27] Commission-appointed panel publishes recommendations for artificial intelligence research. Science business report. [Read the full report of the High Level Expert Group appointed by the European Commission here].

Cryptocurrencies

  • [June 26] Facebook’s crypto currency faces pre-G20 examination, Livemint report.
  • [June 27] Crypto exchange Koinex wraps up operations; laments apathy of regulators and banks, Entrackr report, ETtech report, Medianama report.

Tech and Law Enforcement

  • [June 25] Government surveillance at alarming levels: Forrester Global Map of Privacy Rights and Regulations, The Hindu Business Line report.
  • [June 28] Madras HC allows Internet freedom Foundation (IFF) to intervene to oppose plea for linking Aadhaar with social media accounts, Live Law report; Medianama report.
  • [June 29] Have social media companies helped TN Police combat cyber crimes? Affidavit in Madras HC has answers, Bar&Bench report
  • [June 30] Railway police mulls using Aadhaar to track unidentified victims, The Hindu report; Times of India report.
  • [June 30] War on fake news: Government to roll out guidelines for Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, ISPs, Financial Express report

Tech and Military

  • [June 24] Indian MoD approves procurement of 10 more P-8I aircarft for Indian navy, Jane’s Defense weekly report.
  • [June 26] Russia wants to fool its enemies by making its drones look like owls (Uri style), Newsweek report.
  • [June 26] Tatas may soon join queue for drone clearance from DGCA, ET Tech report.
  • [June 26] 41 pieces of space debris from India’s asat test still in orbit, six weeks after they were supposed to decay according to Harvard astronomer, The Independent report
  • [June 27] Defence minister to review services’ emergency weapon acquisitions for war preparedness, India Today report.
  • [June 27] India progresses import substitution projects under Make-II category, Jane’s Defence Weekly report.
  • [June 28] S-400 Triumf missile deal: India mulls Euro payments for Russian arms to escape US sanctions, Business Today report.
  • [June 28] Euro payment won’t end possibility of US sanctions on S-400 deal: Ex-Indian Defence Adviser, Sputnik International report.
  • [June 30] India signs Rs. 200 crore anti-tank missile deal with Russia, Live Mint report.

Opinions and Analyses

  • [June 23] Julian Vigo, Forbes, How cybersecurity is turning users into security experts.
  • [June 23] Nitin Pai, Live Mint, What it would take for India to become a proper space power,
  • [June 24] Satya Prakash, The Tribune, SC’s flip-flop on free speech.
  • [June 24] Tim Cushing, Tech Dirt (blog), Indian Government uses national security law, bad information to block twitter accounts all over the world.
  • [June 24] Michael Schmitt, Just Security (blog) Top Expert Backgrounder: Aborted US strike, cyber operations against Iran and International Law
  • [June 25] Rohan Choudhary, The Telegraph India, India’s strategic challenges in the near future will be naval, not continental
  • [June 25] Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo, This is how you’re being manipulated (by Big Tech)
  • [June 25] Prannv Dhawan and John Simte, Firstpost, Combating fake news: MEITY should allow legal-flexibility based on social media platforms over one-size-fits-all regulatory approach.
  • [June 25] Alon Muroch, Forbes, What’s preventing crypto from going mainstream?
  • [June 25] Geoffrey S Corn, Lawfare, The aborted Iran strike: the fine line between necessity and revenge,
  • [June 25]  Justin Sherman and Robert Morgus, Lawfare, The Confused US messaging campaign on Huawei.
  • [June 25] Live Mint Opinion, Accept Huawei’s offer.
  • [June 26] Sujan R Chinoy, IDSA Comment, Indo-US Defence Partnership: Future prospects.
  • [June 26] Lt Gen (Retd) DS Hooda, News18, India’s New Defence Cyber Agency Will have to Work Around Stovepipes Built by Army, Navy and Airforce
  • [June 26] Goutam Das and Sonal Khetrapal, Business Today,  Does the amended Aadhaar Bill circumvent Supreme Court’s order?
  • [June 26] Cameron F Kerry and Jon B Morris, The Brookings Institute, Why data ownership is the wrong approach to protecting privacy,
  • [June 27] Anirudh Rastogi and Ramani Ramachandran, ET Tech, RBI needs to overcome its fear of legitimate cryptocurrency usage
  • [June 27] Anrnab Dey, The Quint, What is India doing with all its big data?
  • [June 28] Samiksha Goel, Deccan Herald, 5G world will need new cybersecurity approach.
  • [June 28] Pravin Sawhney, The Wire, Nobody Should be surprised if this year’s defence budget hardly sees a boost.
  • [June 28] PK Vasudeva, The Statesman, A three-in-one position.
  • [June 28] Suhasini Haidar, The Hindu, At G20, India stands with developing world- not US, Japan- on 5G and data.
  • [June 29] Robert Farley, The Diplomat, Getting the world to comply with the US Huawei ban won’t be easy.
  • [June 28] Sidhant Kumar, The Economic Times (blog), Protection, or protectionist?
  • [June 29] Siddharth Sivaraman, The Sunday Guardian, Industrial development is a must for defence modernisation.
  • [June 30] Ephrat Livni, Quartz, Facebook’s Libra is spurring central banks’ interest in issuing crytpocurrency.
  • [June 30] Kamal Davar, The Sentinnel/ The Quint,  Security Agenda for Modi 2.0: A national security doctrine
  • [June 30] Arpita Mukherjee, The Pioneer, India should join e-commerce talks at WTO.
  • [June 30] Keshav Murugesh, The Hindu Business Line, Getting to the Digital Summit.
  • [June 30] Shobha Gupta, Bar & Bench, Section 66A: When a celebrated judgment of the Supreme Court cannot be implemented by the police.
  • [June 30] Nishant Sirohi, The Leaflet, AI Technologies: Putting human rights in the forefront.
  • [June 30] Eline Chivot, Financial Times, One year on, GDPR needs a reality check.
  • [June 29] Robert D Atkinson, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Trump was right to (Temporarily) Lift the Huawei Export Ban.
  • [June 30] Samir Saran and Richard Rahul Verma, The Print, Here’s how US and India can be major defence partners and take lead over Russia and China.

CCG’s Week in Review [June 17-24]: Curated News in Information Law and Policy

From the Aadhaar Amendment Bill introduced in parliament today to US’ cyberattacks against Iranian military installations and India’s soon-to-be-formulated cybersecurity strategy — presenting this week’s most important developments in law and tech.

Data Protection

  • [June 18] Government stands firm on e-commerce, data security, Times of India report.
  • [June 18] Government executives, tech companies lock horns over data protection, draft ecommerce policies, Inc42 report.
  • [June 18] Karnataka to announce new IT policy with focus on Tier-II cities, Medianama report.
  • [June 19] Data Protection Bill to reach Parliament soon; rules may remain stringent, Business Standard report.
  • [June 20] Adtech industry ignores data protection laws, UK regulator rules, Forbes magazine report.
  • [June 20] Data skills in demand as data becomes the new oil, Business Today report.
  • [June 21] India is set to become a data powerhouse, confirms Piyush Goyal, Entrepreneur India report.  

E-Commerce Policy and Digital Payments

  • [June 18] RBI to examine concerns over data localisation rule: Government, Money Control report; The Wire report.
  • [June 19] India to counter US protectionism with e-commerce, data security bills, Hindustan Times report.
  • [June 18] Commerce Ministry: MeitY, RBI to realise full use of digitisation in trade: Piyush Goyal, United News India report.
  • [June 19] Piyush Goyal meets retailers and Kirana stores representatives to discuss e-commerce policy, Business Today report.
  • [June 20] Digital payments zoom past FY 19 target driven by private lenders, Economic times report.
  • [June 20] A more robust Digital India 2.0 to be unveiled soon, DNA India report.
  • [June 24] Data Protection and Aadhaar Amendment Bills listed for budget session, Economic Times report.
  • [June 24] RBI increases focus on cybersecurity as India’s digital payment craze peaks, Analytics India magazine report, Analytics India magazine report.

Aadhaar

  • [June 21] GST Council approves Aadhaar card for GSTN registration , Deccan Chronicle report.
  • [June 22] Aadhaar is very well protected, says cybersecurity chief Rajesh Pant, NDTV report; Business Standard report
  • [June 23] India’s Aadhaar technology a big hit with other nations? Here’s more: India could soon start exporting e-governance software products like Aadhaar to at least 20 Asian and African countries, Qrius report
  • [June 23] Aadhaar ousts 5.53 lakh fake ration beneficiaries in Mumbai and Thane, Indian Express report.
  • [June 24] IT Minister RS Prasad introduces Aadhaar amendment bill in Parliament, “Aadhaar does not violate privacy, is in national interest” Medianama report.

Blockchain and Crypto

  • [June 17] Europol looks to strengthen crypto and blockchain knowledge, CNN report.
  • [June 18] Facebook announces Calibra cryptocurrency wallet, wants to create universal currency with Libra, India Today report; Quartz report; Medianama’s all-you-need-to-know summary.
  • [June 20] Libra could be unbalanced by India’s crypto laws, Coin Desk report.
  • [June 21] The Week in tech: Facebook’s Crypto Dream Faces deep Mistrust, New York Times report
  • [June 22] Global money laundering watchdog has crypto in its sights, Al Jazeera report.
  • [June 24] Inc42 report on Cryptocurrencvy this week: Facebook’s Libra, Russia to adopt crypto regulations, FATF recommendations and more.  

Free Speech / Tech and Law Enforcement

  • [June 18] Why post on Pulwama intelligence failure blocked on twitter, Digvijaya Singh fumes, India Today report.
  • [June 18] India asks WhatsApp to fingerprint messages to ensure traceability, The Economic Times report; Medianama report.
  • [June 18] India bullies Twitter into banning accounts of American, British students thousands of miles away, The Daily Beast report.
  • [June 19] India forces Twitter to suspend open source intelligence handles, The Week report.
  • [June 20] Rapper Hard Kaur charged with sedition for post against Adityanath, Bhagwat, The Wire report.
  • [June 21] No, India did not bully Twitter into banning OSINT accounts, India Today report.

Internet Shutdowns

  • [June 21] Internet suspended in parts of West Bengal’s North 24 parganas district, Medianama report.
  • [June 23] Myanmar blocks internet as violence escalates in Rakhine state, The National report.

Big Tech

  • [June 20] Big tech fears US regulation, but it may be Ireland that should scare them, CNBC report.
  • [June 23] Apple or Android? What is the NDA Cabinet using? Spoiler: Amit Shah prefers iPhone XS, The Economic Times report.

Emerging Tech/ Aritificial Intelligence (AI)

  • [June 19] Microsoft launches AI Digital labs in India, aims to train 1.5 lakh students , Medianama report.
  • [June 24] Hybrid cloud technology is safe but the security it offers isn’t absolute, Financial Express report,

Telecom/ 5G

  • [June 20] Why 5G is the next headache for some of India’s richest men, ET Telecom report.
  • [June 20] 5G will power IOT networks, it will also make cyberattacks easier- are telcos listening? ET Prime report.
  • [June 21] DoT to roll out centralised database of all IMEI numbers “in the coming weeks”: Indian Express report; Medianama report.

More on Huawei

  • [June 19] Qualcomm and Intel are quietly lobbying against Trump’s Huawei ban, Android Central report.
  • [June 19] Don’t share our goods with Huawei: US to Indian companies in letter to MEA, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 19] US ban on Huawei presents Nokia and Ericsson with a huge opportunity, Business Standard report.
  • [June 20] Huawei technology exposes millions of peoples’ calls to surveillance, US warns, Forbes report.
  • [June 20] DoT alone will not take call on Huawei, says telecom secretary Aruna Sundarajan, Live Mint report.
  • [June 20] China asks India to make an independent judgment on Huawei, New Indian Express report.
  • [June 22] Huawei reportedly sued US Commerce department over seized equipment, ramping up trade war tensions, the Business insider report.
  • [June 23] Huawei urges India to take ‘informed’ decision on let5tting it join 5G trial, Business Standard report.

Cybersecurity

  • [June 17] Millions of Venmo transactions scraped in warning over privacy settings, Tech Crunch report.
  • [June 18] ‘Shot on OnePlus’ app leaked users’ email addresses and other personal data for years, NDTV report; Medianama report.
  • [June 19] US Senate bill to strengthen cybersecurity coordination with state and local governments, Federal News Network report.
  • [June 20] Data protection startup Driva’s valuation crosses $1 billion, joins unicorn club, Business Standard report.
  • [June 21] India, France to deepen cooperation in the cybersecurity sector, All India Radio report.
  • [June 22] India’s Cybersecurity Strategy Policy in 2020, says National Cybersecurity Coordinator Rajesh Pant, Medianma report.
  • [June 22] US blacklists 5 Chinese groups working in supercomputing, National Herald report.

Cyberwarfare

  • [June 15] US escalates attacks on Russia’s power grid, The New York Times report.
  • [June 17]Experts propose feds use sanctions and cyberweapons to fight deepfakes, Defense One report.
  • [June 21] Trump made the right call by not pulling the trigger on Iran after it shot down a US drone, former officials say, Business Insider report.
  • [June 22] Iranian hackers wage cyber campaign amid ongoing tensions with the US, Time Magazine report.
  • [June 23] Trump approved cyberattacks on Iran after drone downing, Al Jazeera report.
  • [June 23] US carried out cyberattacks on Iran, New York Times report; The Wall Street Journal report; The Hindu report.

Tech and Military

  • [June 17] Sniper rifles for India Army delayed as 20 firms offer weapon, but none make ammunition, Defense Aviation Post report.
  • [June 18] Paris Air Show: Dassault, Airbus unveil stealth jet to replace Rafale, The Week report.
  • [June 18] Defence University to Defence Chief – Modi Government now has political capital for the big reforms, The Print report.
  • [June 18] US voices interoperability concerns about Indian S-400 procurement, Jane’s Defence Weekly report.
  • [June 19] India-US military trade: Partnership between the two nations on an upwards trend, the Financial Express report.
  • [June 19] Great power competition ushers in a new generation of european weapons, Defense One report.
  • [June 20] Make aero engines in India for self-reliance: Defence experts, Outlook India report.
  • [June 21] Navy issues EoI for shortlisting Strategic Partners for building six submarines worth Rs. 45,000 crore, Economic Times report; Business standard report.
  • [June 21] Two Bengaluru startups first to get CGCA certification for drones Medianama report.
  • [June 22] One more UPA era defence deal under scanner: CBI searches Sanjay Bhandari’s house, The Deccan herald report ; The Hindu report.
  • [June 22] US and India to soon sign industrial security annex which will allow transfer of advanced defence technology, Swarajya magazine report.
  • [June 24] India lining up defence deals worth $10 billion with US amid trade row, Times of India report.
  • [June 23] Defence forces hope FM will leave enough funds for modernisation in Budget, The Economic Times report.
  • [June 24] India scraps $500 million arms deal with Israel after DRDO promises Make in India, Indian Express report, International Business times report.
  • [June 22] Own space station is crucial to India, says ISRO chairman K. Sivan, Business Standard report.

Opinions and Analyses

  • [June 17] GDPR: Looking to the year ahead, Cooley LLP analysis.
  • [June 18] Amit Cowshish, Analysis for the IDSA/ Indian Defence Review, Design and Development of equipment by DRDO, DPSUs and Ordnance Factories.
  • [June 18] China Cybersecurity and Data Protection monthly update by Herbert Smith Freehills on Lexology.
  • [June 18] Medianama summary: Copyright Amendment Rules 2019: statutory licensing for internet broadcasting firms, stricter code of conduct for copyright societies, etc.
  • [June 18] Michael Schmitt’s analysis for Just Security (blog), ‘US Cyber Command, Russia and Critical Infrastructure: What Norms and Laws Apply?’.
  • [June 18] Robert Chesney’s analysis for Lawfare (blog), US Cyber Command and the Russian Grid: Proportional Countermeasures, Statutory Authorities and Presidential Notification.
  • [June 19] Matthew de Silva, Quartz, The problem with Facebook calling its crypto “Libra”,
  • [June 19] Is tech too intertwined for Huawei to fall? Fortune analysis.
  • [June 19] 2001-2019: Huawei’s long history of being considered a national security threat, Medianama summary.
  • [June 20] Ishan Mehta, Wired, under Trump, the fight against cybercrime has waned.
  • [June 20] Aayush Mohanty, The Economic Times blog, India’s security interests vis-a-vis the US’ Hobson’s choice.
  • [June 20] Mei Bowen, Economic Times Telecom, 5G puts the spotlight on network security.
  • [June 23] Manish Tewari, The Asian Age, The case for regulating social media in India.
  • [June 21] Martin Giles, MIT Tech Review, Five Reasons why “hacking back” is a recipe for cybersecurity chaos.
  • [June 23] Zack Doffman, Forbes magazine, US attacks Iran with cyber not missiles—a game changer, not backtrack.

India’s Latest National Security Dilemma: The Huawei Ban and NAM(O) 2.0

Over two weeks after the ban on Huawei was imposed by the United States on suspicions of facilitating espionage on behalf of China, the newly appointed Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad acknowledged that there are ‘complex security concerns’ around the deployment of Huawei’s technology in India. His statement comes soon after the TRAI’s statement emphasizing the need to indigenize telecom infrastructure in the aftermath of the US ban on Huawei.

The Chinese tech giant has been at the centre of controversy even before May 16, when President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled ‘Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain’, declaring a national cybersecurity emergency, placing Huawei on the ‘Entity List’ of the US Department of Commerce under Supplement 4 to Part 744 of its  Export Administration Regulations. This implies that any US persons and corporate entities that continue to do business with Huawei would face heavy penalties that could potentially include criminal sanctions. Owing to the design of export control laws in the United States, the enforcement of the ban in the United States has extraterritorial effects. According to a Reuters report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned allies of potential difficulties in sustained cooperation and data sharing with the United States if they continued to use Huawei equipment despite the ban.

Huawei in the United States

Criminal charges pending against Huawei in US courts include serious allegations of corporate espionage, bank fraud, theft of trade secrets and most importantly, conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq) (IEEPA) by export of telecommunications services provided by a US citizen to Iran without permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It was on the grounds of violation of the IEEPA that the US successfully urged Canada to detain Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, who is now awaiting potential extradition to the United States for prosecution for the crimes alleged against Huawei.

Some in the US national security community have even argued that this could potentially be an abuse of the President’s emergency powers under the IEEPA, the legislation that enables the US to‘financially asphyxiate targeted countries, entities or individuals’ that pose ‘any unusual and extraordinary threat’ to US national security interests. Others, based on Trump’s statement that saw Huawei being potentially included in a future trade deal with China, take the view that the ban is no more than a leveraging tool to get concessions from the Chinese Government. Yet more view it as a measure designed purely to protect US telecom industries from Chinese competition in the 5G race, to prevent the US from losing its edge in communications technologies.

A major reason for the rapid rise of Huawei on the global tech scene has been its competitive prices and convenient payment plans. Thanks to the ban, rival companies like Cicso, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung do indeed, stand to gain significant advantages and grab bigger market shares, but their prices so far have not been able to compete with those offered by their Chinese counterparts.

Despite this ‘emergency’, a week after President Trump signed an Executive Order, the restrictions were eased by the US Department of Commerce to give American companies a 90 days window to adapt to the new restrictions. In the time that has passed, several tech companies have severed business ties with Huawei. Google was the first to respond, cutting off Huawei’s access to its Android platform, restricting existing users’ access to future security patches and updates. Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx, Broadcomm, Panasonic and British Chip manufacturer ARM soon followed suit, causing serious disruptions in the global ICT supply chain, especially in its smartphone manufacturing. However, the smart phone business is only a small part of Huawei’s overall products range. It is noteworthy that as on date, Huawei controls 28% of the global marketshare in telecom equipment. In the first quarter of 2019, Huawei surpassed Apple to become the world’s second largest manufacturer of smartphones. Much to the worry of American telcos, some forecasts indicate that China is expected to represent 40% of all global 5G connections by 2025.

Several reports indicate that Huawei had long been preparing for impending restrictions from the US Government. Reportedly, it is developing its own OS ‘Ark’ and has challenged the National Defence Authorization Act 2018, which bans US Government agencies from procuring products manufactured by Huawei or ZTE.

China’s Retaliation

Although Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei has opposed retaliation by the Chinese Government against Apple or other American tech companies, it remains to be seen how China will respond in the ongoing trade tensions with the US. Some changes to set up a mechanism that allows for higher degree of protection to its own national security interests have already been introduced in Chinese cyber security law in response. China has also threatened the creation of a ‘sweeping blacklist of US firms’ in retaliation. Reports indicate that the export of rare earth minerals to China by the US could be the next frontier in these ‘hostilities’.

In addition, the Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe came out to explicitly state that Huawei was not part of its military, several Chinese officials have refuted US claims alleging that the decision to blacklist Huawei was unsupported by any evidence. Unsurprisingly though, Russia has rolled out the red carpet for Huawei, where it signed a deal to develop 5G infrastructure for Russian telecom provider MTS.

However, the most important piece of Chinese legislation for India to consider is the Chinese intelligence law passed in 2017 that makes it obligatory upon Chinese companies and other entities to share onshore and offshore data with the Government as and when called upon in the interest of national security.

Huawei in India

Some have argued that India would need to conclusively prove allegations of assisting the Chinese government in carrying out cyber espionage before taking any concrete steps to ban Huawei, otherwise India risks undermining its strategic autonomy and playing into the hands of the US. However, the argument seems focused exclusively on the rapid introduction and operationalization of 5G in India and ignores India’s previous run-ins with Huawei’s technology.

Telecom companies through the Cellular Operators Association of India have sought clarification from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on its stance qua usage of Huawei-manufactured equipment by telecom operators. Such a clarification is much needed, considering that Huawei has been kept on a see-saw since September 2018, when the US first started attempting to persuade allies to wall out Huawei in the 5G race. In India, Huawei was first excluded, then extended an invitation which was later rescinded. Huawei India’s CEO Jay Chen recently made a statement demanding a ‘level playing field’ for Huawei in the 5G trials, reiterating the request of the Chinese Government from December of last year.

Presently, telecom operators including Airtel and Vodafone use Huawei equipment in many of their circles in India. While the TRAI has highlighted the need for indigenizing of telecom infrastructure, the truth of the matter is that as on date, almost 60% of the Government’s telecom equipment, including especially that of BSNL is supplied by the Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei. This is despite the fact that BSNL’s allegations against Huawei of hacking into its networks were investigated in 2014. This makes the argument that requires conclusive proof of malicious activity difficult to sustain, if the security of the existing infrastructure has already been compromised in the past.

Huawei itself has urged the DoT for an expedited decision on its inclusion in the 5G trials, reportedly after having answered all queries posed to it by the DoT. The DoT appears divided on the issue – with one section that views it as an issue of not just technology, but also one of security with geopoilitcal ramifications, and the other seemingly inclined towards Huawei’s inclusion to maintain the competition and mitigate risks of relying on supplies from European vendors alone.

The New Berlin Wall and India’s Posturing

At the moment, India seems to have been caught in the middle of what has been dubbed as the New Cold War in tech–faced with prohibitively high prices on the one side, and a risk of Chinese cyber espionage on the other. On this point, some take the view that ‘what is cheap now may not be good in the long run’. National security choices require nations to make difficult trade-offs between economic and strategic goals and considerations, and the contours of the new ‘Great Powers’ relations are radically different to the one that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The New York Times viewed the ban as one that is “about much more than crippling one Chinese tech giant”, and is forcing “nations to make an agonizing choice: Which side of the new Berlin Wall do they want to live on?”

In the collision of tech and trade, foreign policy choices of Governments are now closely intertwined with the commercial interests and health of the domestic telecom and tech industries. Although it is reassuring that India’s telecom minister seems intent on taking ‘a serious look’ at the technological advantage versus security concerns calculus before deciding on Huawei’s inclusion in the upcoming 5G trials, remedial and mitigation measures like reviving MTNL and BSNL services are measures for the long run. However, what makes India the desired location for ‘proxy wars’ in tech is the treasure trove of data that lies beneath the massive subscriber base of over 1.19 billion individuals to telecom services. As for the health of domestic markets, if anything, Indian telecom giants like Reliance Jio that uses 4G equipment manufactured by Samsung, could potentially stand to gain from the move, if Huawei were to be excluded from the Indian market and the 5G trials. It remains to be seen whether such a protectionist measure, following the footsteps of the US, would be introduced by the new Government that has re-risen to power on the promise of strengthening national security. A legitimate concern is the threat of retaliatory pressure tactics from the US if India does fail to do so.

It is notable that India has taken some measures to avoid offending the United States’ declared policies, while the decision on Huawei remains pending. A week after the ban, India stopped importing oil from Iran as well as Venezuela to comply with US sanctions after the US ended exemptions for eight countries including India. More recently, the US revoked India’s preferential trade status under the GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) trade program, alleging that India has not “assured the US that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets”. The US-China trade war presents a similar spectrum of choices to India – while the Ministry of Commerce is mulling over the imposition of ‘retaliatory tariffs’, others take the position that India should cut interest rates to take advantage of the trade war to gain a stronger foothold in both markets.

Against the backdrop of this new political economy of the cybersecurity industry, a new kind of non-alignment seems to be emerging, creating an unmistakable split in traditional alliances between NATO members. Only two of the ‘Five Eyes Alliance’ of intelligence sharing other than the United States – Australia and New Zealand responded quickly by banning Huawei in their respective national jurisdictions. Some European counties, specifically – the UK and Germany, while also remaining mindful of the risks posed by Chinese covert activity through its tech industry that has undeniably acquired a global influence, are seemingly intent on not abandoning Huawei in the design of their 5G infrastructure. Canada too, while juggling the pending extradition of Huawei’s CFO to the US, appears determined to make an independent decision on the 5G question. At the moment, India’s policies seem to just as non-aligned as those of Germany or the United Kingdom – aimed at maintaining the free flow of investments and information while steadily moving towards indigenization of ICT and expansion of markets instead of encouraging protectionism to curb competition.

Until such time that India can completely indigenize the equipment, or alter its telecom equipment procurement policies across the board to exclude obvious threats to the integrity of our cybersecurity infrastructure, India’s choice seems to be a limited to a cybersecurity policy along the lines of the Nehruvian-era doctrine of non-alignment, perhaps with only slight tilt— this time, toward the United States? It would appear that the time is ripe for NaMo 2.0 to revisit the doctrine as NAM 2.0, in a manner that allows India to preserve the security alliance with one side, and an economic partnership to avoid disruptions and price escalations in our ICT supply chain on the other. In other words, the need of the hour is ‘to effectively manage our global opportunities to maximize our choices’ while preserving strategic autonomy.

Law Enforcement Initiatives Towards Tackling Cyber Crime in India

Cyber crime has been rising across India. This post reviews advancements in policing technologically advanced crimes and considers potential next steps. 

With rising instances of cybercrime being noted across the country, the need for vigilance in the cyber sphere has been highlighted by a number of commentators. These crimes have gained attention subsequent to the notification of demonetization, with rising online banking transactions and a governmental push towards a digital economy.

Several new issues stemming from the distrust in digital payment systems have been reported. For example, the cybercrime cell of the Mumbai Police has received several reports of a scam characterized by persons receiving fraudulent calls allegedly from banks, discussing a new RBI policy. These calls informed consumers that credit and debit cards were soon to be deactivated, but if they released their card details, they would be permitted to continue usage. Once released, these details were misused. While issues such as these do not require extensive cyber expertise to resolve, their incidence is on the rise. Countering them requires banks as well as law enforcement agencies to increase their efforts towards educating new adopters.

More concern may be caused by technology-intensive hacking attacks, both from within the country and outside. Recent instances include the hostilities faced by several Telangana-area software companies by alleged Pakistani attackers, as well as attacks by the group known as Legion. Their actions allegedly include the hacking of the twitter and email accounts of Rahul Gandhi, Vijay Mallya and Barkha Dutt, among others. There has also been an upswing in ransomware attacks recently, with over 11,000 attacks being reported in just three months. Reports of India’s first online Ponzi scheme are also now coming to light. This is despite the fact that that 80% of cybercrimes remain unreported according to recent news reports. This post will review some initiatives taken towards the more efficient investigation of cybercrime by law enforcement across the country.

Cyber Policing in India

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS)

Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in 2009, with an allocation of INR 2 billion, the CCTNS is a project under the National e-Governance Plan. It aims at creating a nationwide networking infrastructure for an IT-enabled criminal tracking and crime detection system. The integration of about 15,000 police stations, district and state police headquarters and automated services was originally scheduled to be completed by 2012. However, this still remains incomplete.

Apart from the slow pace of implementation and budgetary problems, on-the-ground hurdles to fully operationalizing CCTNS include unreliable Internet connectivity and under-trained personnel at police stations. Other issues include unavailability of facilities for cyber forensic analysis in most locations, and lack of awareness regarding online citizens’ services such as verification of tenants and employees and clearance for processions and events.

Online Complaints

The Central Government, in response to queries by the Supreme Court regarding measures taken to tackle cybercrime, recently announced that they would be setting up a ‘Centre Citizen Portal’. This portal will allow citizens to file complaints online with respect to cybercrimes, including cyber stalking, online financial fraud and others, suffered or observed by them.

The governmental response also details the proposed process, stating that any such complaint on the portal will trigger an alert at the relevant police station and allow the police department to track and update its status, while the complainant too would be able to view updates and escalate the complaint to higher officials.

Cyber Police Stations

Cyber police stations generally include trained personnel as well as the appropriate equipment to analyse and track digital crimes. Maharashtra, where cybercrime has risen over 140% in recent times, and which had the dismal distinction of only recording a single conviction related to cybercrime last year, is converting its existing cybercrime labs into cyber police stations. This will mean there is a cyber police station in each district of the state. The initiative in Maharashtra is useful especially because of the rise in online transactions in Tier II and Tier III cities and the rising cybercrime related thereto. However, despite the rise in cybercrime, complaints remain of low reportage and low success rates in solving crime. Police officers point to problems processing evidence, with complex procedures being required to retrieve data on servers stored abroad.

Further, there have been complaints in Bengaluru of the limited jurisdiction of cyber police stations. Pursuant to a standing order of the DG & IGP of Bengaluru City Police issued in June 2016, only cases with damages of over INR 5 lakh can be registered at cyber police stations in case of bank card fraud. In cases of online cheating, only those instances where damages exceed INR 50 lakh are amenable to the jurisdiction of cyber police stations. All other cases are to be registered with the local police station which, unlike cyber police stations, do not generally include trained personnel or the appropriate equipment to analyse and track digital crimes.

While the order is undoubtedly creating problems for cybercrime victims, it was made taking into account the woefully under-resourced cybercrime police station in Bengaluru which, at the time, consisted of a 15-member staff with two vehicles at its disposal.

Predictive Policing

Predictive policing involves the usage of data mining, statistical modeling and machine learning on datasets relating to crimes to make predictions about likely locations for police intervention. Examples of predictive policing include hot-spot mapping to identify temporal and spatial hotspots of criminal activity and regression models based on correlations between earlier, relatively minor, crimes and later, violent offences.

In 2013, the Jharkhand Police, in collaboration with the National Informatics Centre, began developing a data mining software for scanning online records to study crime trends. The Jharkhand Police has also been exploring business analytics skills and resources at IIM-Ranchi, in order to tackle crime in Jharkhand.

The Delhi Police has tapped into the expertise at the Indian Space Research Organisation in order to develop a predictive policing tool called CMAPS – Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System. The system identifies crime hotspots by combining Delhi Police’s Dial 100 helpline calls data with ISRO’s satellite imagery and visualizing it as cluster maps. Using CMAPS, Delhi Police has slashed its analysis time from the 15 days it took with its erstwhile mechanical crime mapping to the three minutes it takes for the system to refresh its database.

The Hyderabad City Police is in the process of building a database, called the ‘Integrated People Information Hub’ which, according to the City Police Commissioner, would offer the police a “360-degree view” of citizens, including names, aliases, family details, addresses and information on various documents including passports, Aadhaar cards and driving licenses.

The data is combed from a wide-ranging variety of sources, including information on arrested persons, offenders’ list, FIRs, phone and electricity connections, tax returns, RTA registrations and e-challans. It is further indexed with unique identifiers, and is used to establish the true identity of a person, and present results to relevant authorities within minutes. While the system is aimed at curbing criminal activity and detecting fraud, a lack of clearly identified cyber security and privacy protocols is a worrying sign.

Conclusion

We recently reviewed the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics relating to cybercrime, as set out in their Crime in India Report 2015. Some concerns that stemmed from the figures set out in the report were the low conviction rates and high pendency of cases. Experts have linked these issues, amongst other things, with the limited mechanisms available for cyber policing and the effectively-defunct status of the cyber tribunals. A recent report by the Bureau for Police Research and Development also highlighted resource constraints affecting police stations, with several stations lacking basic necessities such as a vehicle or a phone connection. Over five lakh posts sanctioned posts also remain vacant.

Given resource limitations, both in fiscal terms and relating to trained personnel, it is heartening to see the steps that have been taken towards efficient cyber-policing. While this post highlights some steps that have been taken in major jurisdictions, there are several initiatives even in non-metro cities towards tackling cybercrime. A National Cybersecurity Co-ordination Centre is also due to be launched around June this year. In a recent response to the Supreme Court, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh also informed the Court of substantial investments being made by the Central Government towards police and judicial training and towards the creation of cybercrime prevention cells. It is hoped that these measures will help to stem the growing tide of cybercrime in India.