[August 5-12] CCG’s Week in Review: Curated News in Information Law and Policy

This week, the President assented to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill passed by Parliament, diving the state into two Union Territories as a state-wide communications shutdown continues; Reliance Jio announced release of Jio Fibre and its IoT platform; the cryptocurrency bill likely to come up in the next session of Parliament; PMO expected to give their stance on data localisation soon – presenting this week’s most important developments in law and tech.   

Cybersecurity

  • [Aug 8] WhatsApp risk: Hackers can change your messages, claims Israeli cybersecurity firm, Business Today report.
  • [Aug 9] Cyberattack warning as dangerous issues found on popular office printers: report, Forbes report.
  • [Aug 9] Broadcom-Symantec deal troubles cybersecurity experts, Search Security report.
  • [Aug 10] India ranked highest in IoT cyberattacks last quarter: report, News 18 report.
  • [Aug 10] Full-on war for cybersecurity talent as threats from hackers worsen, The Business Times report.

Internet Shutdowns

  • [Aug 5] This is the 51st internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, Quartz report.
  • [Aug 5] India is the world’s leader in internet shutdowns, Foreign Policy report.

Internal Security: Kashmir and Abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A

  • [Aug 5] Rajya Sabha passes Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, scraps Articles 370, 35A, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 5] Article 370: Disobedience by Police, bureaucracy factored in, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 6] J&K Reorganisation Bill passed in Lok Sabha, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 6] Kashmir in lockdown after autonomy scrapped, BBC News report.
  • [Aug 6] Article 370 debate: Who said what as Modi govt scraps J&K’s special status, divides it in 2 UTs, India Today report.
  • [Aug 6] 2,000 sat phones, drones, 35k troops: How PM Modi prepped for Article 370 endgame, The Hindustan Times report.
  • [Aug 6] With Kashmir move, India risks losing the upper hand of a responsible, nuclear-armed democracy, Quartz report.
  • [Aug 6] In Kashmir move, critics say, Modi is trying to make India a Hindu nation, The New York Times report.
  • [Aug 7] Legal work behind scrapping of Article 370 began before Lok Sabha polls, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 7] Article 370: Pakistan to Downgrade Diplomatic Ties with India, The Wire report.
  • [Aug 7] NSA Ajit Doval visits J&K, interacts with Kashmiris over lunch, Livemint report.
  • [Aug 7] Parliament revokes Article 370, J&K bifurcation sealed, The Hindustan Times report.
  • [Aug 8] Ladakh in lockdown as protests flare up against J&K bifurcation, Livemint report.
  • [Aug 8] Pak nervous about India’s steps in J&K, says MEA, The Hindu report.
  • [Aug 9] Article 370 fallout: Pakistan now decided to ban all cultural exchanges with India, Business Today report; Financial Express report.
  • [Aug 9] NSA Ajit Doval approves 600 phones for troops in Kashmir to connect with family, India Today report.
  • [Aug 9] Phone services, internet partially restored in Kashmir ahead of Eid, NDTV report.
  • [Aug 10] Protests or peace in Srinagar? Videos from the BBC and Prasar Bharti show conflicting footage, Scroll.in report.
  • [Aug 10] India asks Pakistan to see ‘new reality’, The Asian Age report.
  • [Aug 10] Kashmir updates; Pakistan orders suspension of bus services on 3 routes, India Today report.
  • [Aug 10] Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh to come into existence on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary, News 18 report.
  • [Aug 10] After Imran warns on Art 370, sleepy terror camps came alive in PoK: report, Deccan Chronicle report.
  • [Aug 10] 1964: When parties wanted Article 370 abrogated, The Hindustan Times report.
  • [Aug 10] Pakistan ups the ante over Kashmir, The Hindu report.
  • [Aug 11] Why PM Modi acted now on Kashmir? India Today report.
  • [Aug 11] India eases restrictions in Kashmir for Eid, The Straits Times report.
  • [Aug 11] Petitions in SC on J&K move, The Hindu report; Times of India report.
  • [Aug 11] Article 370 removal will result in end of terrorism in Kashmir, asserts Amit Shah, Money Control report.
  • [Aug 11] NSA Ajit Doval to oversee Kashmir’s three vital days, India Today report.

Tech and Law Enforcement

  • [Aug 6] Pakistan users tweet #ModiKillingKashmiris, cybercrime officials monitor over 1.58 lakh tweets using the tag, The Hindu report.
  • [Aug 8] WhatsApp can trace message origin, says IIT-M professor, ET Tech report.

Tech and National Security

  • [Aug 5] Centre invites private sector to test military gear, Deccan Herald report.
  • [Aug 5] US Defence Secretary insists it wasn’t Trump that demanded $10bn JEDI Cloud review, Data Economy report.
  • [Aug 5] US Defence Secretary insists it wasn’t Trump that demanded $10bn JEDI Cloud review, Data Economy report.
  • [Aug 7] Defence Ministry to decide on buying two BrahMos missile coastal batteries to tackle enemy warships, ANI News report.
  • [Aug 8] Defence acquisition council approves acquisition of two BrahMos missile batteries for Indian navy, Times of India report; ANI News  report; The New Indian Express report; Outlook report; Financial Express report.
  • [Aug 9] Self-reliance in Defence Sector can be achieved through start-ups: Rajnath Singh, ANI News report.
  • [Aug 10] Rajnath Singh promises private companies to go through ideas on easing norms, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 10] India and US unlikely to sign pact for mutual access to geospatial maps, The Economic Times report.
  • [Aug 10] India exporting defence equipment to friendly countries: Defence ministry official, The Economic Times report.

Data Protection Bill

  • [Aug 6] India’s Personal data Protetction Bill: What we know so far, Money Control report.
  • [Aug 7] Tech firms have no data on proposed data protection bill, ET Tech report.
  • [Aug 7] New bill lacks teeth to ensure data protection of Indians: Experts, Outlook report.
  • [Aug 12] Delhi Police recommends relaxing of restrictions on investigative agencies in teh data protection Bill, Medianama report.


Data Protection and Privacy

  • [Aug 5] UK watchdog eyeing PM Boris Johnson’s Facebook ads data grab, Tech Crunch report.
  • [Aug 6] Congress accuses Telangana Govt of provacy breach, MoS for Home Affairs to look into the matter: Report, ANI report; Medianama report.  
  • [Aug 6] Twitter says it may have used private data for ads without users’ permission, The Hill report.
  • [Aug 6] Facebook, Google Twitter aren’t prepared for presidential deepfakes, MIT Technology review report.
  • [Aug 9] The Irish Data Protection Commission is looking into how millions of Instagram users’ personal data was harvested by one of the company’s partners, Business Insider report.
  • [Aug 9] Amazon’s lead EU data regulator is asking questions about Alexa privacy, Tech Crunch report.

Ecommerce

  • [Aug 5] Govt proposes grievance officers, tighter rules for Shein, Clun Factory and ecommerce players, Inc42 report
  • [Aug 10] New guidelines on e-commerce and data protection are largely positive, The Hindu Business Line report.

Data Localisation

  • [Aug 8] PMO’s stand on data localisation soon, ET Tech report.

Digital India

  • [Aug 5] Chennai is quickly turning into the new hotbed for SaaS and deep-tech startups, ET Tech report.
  • [Aug 6] Summary: National Digital Health Blueprint proposes new body for digital health mission, health data exchanges and registries, Medianama report.
  • [Aug 8] Finance Ministry clarification helps startups breathe easy on angel tax, Tech Circle report.
  • [Aug 8] Wipro signs 5 year digital transformation deal with Montreal Airport Authority, Tech Circle report.

Aadhaar

  • [Aug 6] Hyderabad: Rescued kids have same DoB: Traffickers used Aadhaar cards as age proof to escape police’s attention, Deccan Chronicle report.
  • [Aug 6] RBI might extend the deadline for full KYC to March 2020: NASSCOM, Inc42 report.
  • [Aug 7] Aadhaar is now mandatory for students, but is it legal? The New Indian Express report.
  • [Aug 7] Students stare at scholarship setback, Deccan Herald report.
  • [Aug 8] Aadhaar for cows and buffaloes: India is developing world’s largest livestock database, Money Control report; The New Indian Express report.
  • [Aug 10] TN Govt makes Aadhaar enrolment compulsory for school students, sparks row, The News Minute report.
  • [Aug 11] Manipur: Six Rohingya migrants arrested for entering India with fake Aadhaar IDs, The Indian Express report.
  • [Aug 12] Aadhaar Pay regains tempo, usage hits 200 million, ET Rise report.
  • [Aug 12] Aadhaar enabled payment system witnesses 11% rise in transaction value, Entrackr report.

Digital Payments

  • [Aug 6] Mobile wallet firms look to RBI for eKYC options, ET Tech report.
  • [Aug 8] RBI’s Central Registry to track frauds in payment systems, ET Tech report.
  • [Aug 8] RBI brings in major change in Bharat Bill Payment System regime, ET Tech report

Cryptocurrencies

  • [Aug 4] New Iranian Law: Govt will not recognize crypto-related trade, Coin Telegraph report.
  • [Aug 5] Mastercard is building a team to develop crypto, wallet projects, Coin Desk report; Crypto NewsZ report.
  • [Aug 5] Cryptocurrency in China: Over the counter, under the table, Coin Deask report.
  • [Aug 5] Bitcoin price soars as China softens stance on crypto, devalues Yuanh, Forbes report.
  • [Aug 5] Crypto is replacing fiat currency in troubled countries, Forbes report.
  • [Aug 6] Privacy Commissioners from around the world raise concerns over Facebook’s Libra privacy risks, Medianama report.
  • [Aug 7] ECB says it’s ramping up crypto surveillance to include off-chain data, Coin Telegraph report.
  • [Aug 7] South Korean Watchdog plans direct supervision of crypto exchanges, Coin Desk report.
  • [Aug 8] Serious security warning issued for world’s biggest bitcoin and crypto exchange, Binance, Forbes report.
  • [Aug 8] Indian Supreme Court heard crypto case in depth, Bitcoin News report.
  • [Aug 8] State-sponsored Chinese hacking group targeting crypto firms: report, Coin Desk report.
  • [Aug 9] India could lose billions in revenue from banning crypto, Coingeek report.
  • [Aug 10] Global system to combat crypto-driven money laundering in development, New BTC report.
  • [Aug 10] India to introduce Crypto Bill in next Parliament session – a look at community responses, Bitcoin News report.

Telecom/5G

  • [Aug 6] BSNL reviews outsourced functions to save cost; faces rs. 800 crore revenue-expense gap, ET Telecom report.
  • [Aug 6] TRAI directs telcos to submit monthly reports on complaints under new pesky call rules, ET Telecom report.
  • [Aug 9] 5G Rollout: Govt decision on Huawei role soon, Financial Express report.
  • [Aug 12] Reliance Jio launching broadband service on Sep 5, Entrackr report.

More on Huawei

  • [Aug 5] Huawei’s latest earnings mask its trouble outside China, Wired report.
  • [Aug 6] China warns India of ‘reverse sanctions’ if Huawei is blocked, ET Telecom report; Livemint report; Business Today report.
  • [Aug 6] China jobs impacted after Huawei row: Manufacturer, Al Jazeera report.
  • [Aug 6] Your company’s surprising supply chain exposure on Huawei, Forbes report.
  • [Aug 7] China ‘blackmailing’ India into using Huawei infra: US Congressman, ET Telecom report.
  • [Aug 7] Trump administration to ban agencies from directly purchasing equipment or services from Huawei, ZTE and Hickvision, CNBC report.; The Economic Times report
  • [Aug 7] Huawei pushes ahead with US $ 1.4 bn R&D Centre in Shanghai in spite of US trade restrictions, South China Morning Post report.
  • [Aug 9] Huawei launches own operating system to rival Android, The Economic Times report; Engadget report.

Big Tech

  • [Aug 9] More women going up the ladder in global tech firms, ET Tech report.

Internet of Things (IoT)

  • [Aug 12] Jio’s IoT platform to be commercially available by January 2020: Mukesh Ambani, Money Control report; News 18 report.

Opinions and Analyses

  • [Aug 5] Gautam Bhatia, Indian Constitutional Law and philosophy Blog, The Article 370 Amendments: Key Legal Issues.
  • [Aug 5] Marty Puranik, Forbes, Can AI be used to bolster cybersecurity?
  • [Aug 5] Matthew Prince, Cloudflare, Terminating Service for 8chan. 
  • [Aug 5] Ron Shevlin, Forbes, Why does Walmart want a cryptocurrency?
  • [Aug 6] Faizan Mustafa, The Indian Express, Explained: What are Articles 370 and 35A?
  • [Aug 6] David Lyon and Clin Bennett, The Conversation, Data driven elections and the key questions about voter surveillance.
  • [Aug 6] Pratap Bhanu Mehta, The Indian Express, The story of Indian democracy is written in blood and betrayal.
  • [Aug 6] Syed Ata Hasnain, Times of India, The end of autonomy: Pakistan’s negative ambitions spurred Centre’s decision on Kammu and Kashmir.
  • [Aug 6] Atul Pant, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, C2D2: An agile defence acquisition model.
  • [Aug 6] Amitabh Mattoo, The Hindu, Piecing together Kashmir’s audacious roadmap.
  • [Aug 6] Monika Halan, Livemint, Data is already currency, now you may be able to use own data.
  • [Aug 6] Paul Rosenzweig, Lawfare, Preliminary Observations on the Utility of Measuring Cybersecurity.
  • [Aug 6] Daisuke Wakabatashi, The New York Times, Legal Shield for Websites Rattles under Onslaught of Hate Speech.
  • [Aug 7] Jitendra Singh, Entrackr, Why breaking WhatsApp encryption could have chilling effect on its users.
  • [Aug 7] Yau Tsz Yan, The Diplomat, Smart Cities or Surveillance? Huawei in Central Asia.
  • [Aug 7] Luv Puri, The Hindu, The new facts on the ground for Kashmir.
  • [Aug 8] Wajahat Habibullah, The Hindustan Times, Revocation of Article 370 could trigger a sense of betrayal in Kashmir.
  • [Aug 8] Tarun Shridhar, Indian Express, Now, also an Aadhaar card for cattle and buffaloes.
  • [Aug 8] Gregory Barber, Wired, AI Needs Your Data – And you should get paid for it.
  • [Aug 8] Bibyesh Anand, Foreign Policy, Kashmir is a dress rehearsal for Hindu nationalist fantasies.
  • [Aug 8] Katie Mettler, The Washington Post, Why free speech makes it difficult to prosecute white supremacy in America.
  • [Aug 9] Avantika Mehta, The Leaflet, Facebook bats for WhatsApp privacy protection.
  • [Aug 9] Vikram Mahajan, The Economic Times, India-US Defence Deals: Why CAATSA should be avoided.
  • [Aug 9] Guest Author, Medianama, AI in Military Operations: Where does India stand?
  • [Aug 10] Suhrith Parthasarthy, The Hindu, Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge.
  • [Aug 11] Navnita Chadha Behera, Deccan Herald, Article 370 meant to extend Indian sovereignty over J&K.
  • [Aug 11] Minhaz Merchant, Business World, China after Huawei and Hong Kong.
  • [Aug 12] Rakesh K Singh, The Pioneer, Pakistan steps up espionage efforts for Pulwama 2.0.
  • [Aug 12] Sandipan Deb, Livemint, The revocation of Article 370 ends a foul majoritarianism.
  • [Aug 12] Rayan Naqash, Firstpost, Kashmir after Artilce 370: State’s existential crisis worsens as it grapples with idea that Centre has dissolved mainstream politics.

TechWars: 5G technology comes to India

In our last post we talked about the Huawei ban and the impact it has on India and our national security agenda. The Huawei proceedings are a culmination of a series of political oppositions between states which have a profound impact on many countries, including our own. While the Huawei incident has been described as a next generation cold war that stems from political and economic considerations, it is catalysed by the struggle for technological superiority.

5G or the Fifth-Generation mobile network is the successor to the current 4G technology pervasive in present-day information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. While the range of use remains the same, with 5G technology also being used to make and receive calls and texts, and to get online, the scope is drastically different. 5G technology is much faster than 4G, allowing for data streaming almost 100 times faster than current 4G rates.

In addition to finally having lag-free Netflix for your commute, this technology is also essential in powering many essential emerging tech such as driverless cars, machine-to-machine communication, etc. The 5G spectrum is wider in nature, which allows for more devices to connect to the super-fast internet, allowing for the IOT (Internet of Things) and other allied technologies such as AI and to finally take off. The lower latency results in a more stable connection.

Current propagation of 5G

While USA won the 4G race being the first country to offer LTE network, it appears that it is lagging behind on the 5G front. 4G technology offered the US many macroeconomic opportunities, however, 5G is expected to provide more. An examination of the spending patterns of countries on research and development of 5G technology shows that many countries have outspent US in their pursuit for 5G, with China spending nearly USD 24 billion more and opening 350,000 new sites for development, as compared to the US’s 30,000. China’s five-year economic plan further indicates a planned USD 400 billion 5G related investment, which gives China a substantial advantage in the 5G race.

Countries have started the 5G roll out in phases across the globe, with South Korea’s SK telecom claiming to have rolled out the first commercial use of 5G in April 2019. China has issued licenses to three of its operators, who could start rolling out public use as early as this year. Currently it’s being tested across the country in various location before a full-scale release. In addition, many countries have started the process to adopt 5G. Despite the ban, Huawei has received commercial contracts from over 30 countries for installing 5G technology.

British telco EE network became the first to offer 5G network in the UK, beating its rival Vodafone by just a few months. 5G network is also live in some cities in the US, however many companies, like Verizon only offer a home-broadband version of it, not a commercial one available to the public at large.

5G in India

In order to implement 5G in India, the first step would be to examine and identify the correct bands which would be auctioned to the telecom providers. The telecom ministry is currently working on identifying these bands, and is expected to finish the process in time for India to roll out 5G along with the rest of the world. The delay in the allocation process can also partly be attributed to the elevation of the 5G issue to the Prime Minister’s Office due to Huawei’s involvement in the 5G trials and the subsequent allegations of security threats levelled against them. While the PMO did not decide to rule out Huawei completely, it has decided to approach a ‘wait and watch’ approach to the situation and see how other countries react to these allegations.

The auction is expected to be the largest so far, and could happen as early as September- October this year. The principal challenge to spectrum allocations is TRAI’s recommendation on 5G spectrum prices. The Indian telecom providers have compared the 5G spectrum valuation in South Korea, to that of India which is almost 7 times higher and have considered these prices to be unsustainable.

The current status of the auction remains uncertain, while the prices are considered to be prohibitively high, it cannot be ignored that this technology would also result in significant gains of market share to companies who are able to implement them in a timely fashion. The expected revenue from 5G is estimated to be about USD 1 trillion dollars, which is instrumental in helping India achieve its goal of becoming a USD 5 trillion dollar economy. Due to the potential economic benefits, 5G has made its way into the limelight for the present government.

Despite opposition from leading telecom players such as Vodafone, who have advocated for delaying auction of 5G to post 2020, citing the adequacy of current 4G technology for present day tech and IOT needs, the potential of India’s 5G market has attracted many big players. Korean telco Samsung visited India to engage in talks with Indian telecom marketers, including Reliance Jio about the supply of 5G network equipment. This visit was in light of the uncertainty caused by the US’ ban on Huawei, the largest telecom provider in the world.

In conclusion, we can see that while telecom operators are somewhat weary of the spectrum allocation, 5G is making its way to your smartphones, with or without Huawei. With the advances in data consumption and internet usage in the country, the 5G spectrum would be a boon for the tech industry allowing better internet for research into AI, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT. But most importantly, it means that we can look forward to lag-free Netflix in our near future.