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CII lauds launch of 5G technology

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 The new 5G technology will help India achieve the next phase of digital transformation, president of industry body CII, Sanjiv Bajaj said.

In a statement issued by CII, Bajaj said: “The nation is relying heavily on 5G to be a game-changer in enabling new use cases and improving efficiency across every industry. With this launch (of 5G), we are moving towards an inclusive digital transformation ensuring that digital technologies are universally available, accessible, and adoptable, enabling meaningful and safe use of the Internet and digital services for all.”

5G technology in India was launched last week during the the sixth edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea – the three major telecom operators of the country had demonstrated the use of 5G technology to him during the event.

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After Delhi HC order, Telegram discloses details of users sharing infringing material

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 Pursuant to the Delhi High Court judgment of August 30 that courts in India can direct a messaging app to disclose the information of infringers, Telegram — an instant messaging application — has finally handed over the copies to the court.

The said data, which is in the form of a chart, shows the names of the admins, phone numbers, and IP addresses of some of the channels.

The channels were accused of unauthorised sharing of the study material prepared by Campus Private Limited and its teacher Neetu Singh for various competitive examinations.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh in the order dated November 24 said that the copy of the data can be supplied to the plaintiff’s counsel but with clear direction that neither the plaintiff nor their counsel shall disclose the said data to any third party, except for the purposes of the present proceedings.

“To this end, disclosure to the governmental authorities/police is permissible,” said the court, adding that the affidavit of Telegram along with the chart containing the data have been taken on record.

The court then directed the Registry to retain the said data in a sealed cover.

“List before the court for case management on February 14, 2023. This shall not be treated as a part-heard matter. The matter shall be listed before the Roster Bench,” the court said.

Earlier, the court had directed Telegram to disclose the details of the channels/devices used in disseminating the infringing content, mobile numbers, IP addresses, email addresses, etc., used to upload the infringing material.

“The data relating to the infringing channels and the details as to the devices/servers/networks on which they are created, their creators, operators, including any phone numbers, IP addresses, and email addresses, used for this purpose shall be disclosed by Telegram within a period of two weeks thereafter,” the court had said.

Recently, the HC had directed Telegram to comply with its 2020 order asking it to disclose the Basic Subscriber Information of the users involved in unauthorisedly uploading and sharing the ePaper (PDF) — which can be accessed only after subscription — of Dainik Jagran newspaper for free in their channels.

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WhatsApp bans 26 lakh bad accounts in India as amended IT rules take shape

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 Meta-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday said it banned over 26 lakh accounts in India in the month of September in compliance with the new IT Rules, 2021, which are now being amended to put more responsibilities on social media platforms.

The messaging platform, which has nearly 500 million users (according to third-party data) in the country, received 666 complaint reports in September in India, and the records “actioned” were 23.

“In accordance with the IT Rules 2021, we’ve published our report for the month of September 2022. This user-safety report contains details of the user complaints received and the corresponding action taken by WhatsApp, as well as WhatsApp’s own preventive actions to combat abuse on our platform,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The platform banned over 23 lakh bad accounts in India in August.

Under the upgraded IT Rules 2021, major digital and social media platforms, with in excess of five million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports.

Meanwhile, in a major push towards an open, safe, trusted and accountable Internet, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has notified some amendments aimed at protecting the rights of “Digital Nagriks”.

Currently, social media intermediaries are only required to inform users about not uploading certain categories of harmful/unlawful content.

The amendments impose a legal obligation on intermediaries to take reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading such content.

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that protection of constitutional rights of the Indian citizens is a must.

The amendments were notified after the Ministry followed an exhaustive public consultation process involving all stakeholders.

The new provisions will ensure that the intermediary’s obligation is not a mere formality.

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How three young informants made tech giant Google cough up Rs 1,338 cr fine

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Three young informants, Umar Javeed, Aaqib and Sukarma Thapar finally forced the tech giant, Google to cough up a whooping fine of Rs 1,338 crore for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets with its Android mobile operating system.

While Umar Javeed and Sukarma Thapar were then working as research associates with the CCI, Umar’s younger brother Aaqib was then a law student in the University of Kashmir.

The CCI, the national competition regulator, is responsible for promoting competition and preventing activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on market competition in India.

Umar and Aaqib belong to the Valley. That Google was abusing its dominant position in multiple markets was the complaint filed by the three young informants in 2018.

The three young informants are all lawyers now, with Umar working at a public sector undertaking, Aaqib a practicing advocate in Delhi and Sukarma an independent consultant for law and policy.

Umar said that compiling evidence was a tough task because they only had access to consumer-facing information to support their cause.

“We can look at an Android phone and say there are some Google-owned apps that cannot be deleted even if we wanted to, but besides that, as consumers, we have little information on how exactly Android smartphone manufacturers and app developers are affected by the role Google plays in the Android ecosystem,” he explained.

Aaqib said that the three of them were already interested in how the digital market was shaping up in India and how the policies and laws governing technology were influencing consumers and tech companies.

“There were many late nights and early mornings where we would just work throughout the night.

“I was still a law student then and helping these guys meant I was juggling research along with studying for exams and assignments,” Aaqib said.

The process of compiling a comprehensive dossier of information was not easy and took about two months.

“We had to focus on our day jobs and then research for this later in the day. That is when we would have some free time,” Sukarma said.

Then, events related to Google in Europe caught the trio’s attention. “In July 2018, the European Commission (the EU’s competition watchdog) imposed one of its largest fines on Google of 4.34 billion Euros for violating EU antitrust rules,” Umar said.

After considering this information submitted by the three informants, the CCI launched an investigation in April 2019 into Google’s conduct in the Android mobile device ecosystem which eventually resulted in the October 20 CCI judgment and fine.

In its response, Google had said it would review the competition watchdog’s decision. “CCI’s decision is a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses opening serious security risks for Indians and raising the cost of mobile devices for Indians.”

Thanks to the whistle blown by these three informants, CCI has now tightened its noose around other big tech companies like Apple and Facebook after they were hauled up by European and Australian regulators.

CCI has, however, not been successful in going all out in such anti-competitive activities by these companies. Apart from the current penalties, Google also faces a probe from CCI in two other cases. CCI hopes that these cases will serve as a ‘guidance note’ for other companies which may be flouting competition rules.

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