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US SC gives LinkedIn another chance to block data scraping

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The US Supreme Court has granted Microsoft-owned LinkedIn another chance to prevent a rival recruitment data company from scraping personal data from its platform.

A couple of years ago, LinkedIn was told by a US federal judge that it can’t block rivals like hiQ Labs from scraping personal data from public profiles. But this week, the US Supreme Court threw out that ruling, sending it back to the 9th Circuit of Appeals.

This is due to a recent June 4 decision that restricted the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal anti-hacking law that blocks access to a computer without authorisation, reports Engadget.

In that particular ruling, the Supreme Court had decided that a person can’t be guilty of misusing information if they had permission to use the computer in question.

This all started in 2017 when LinkedIn accused hiQ of scraping LinkedIn’s public profiles. hiQ would then use the data to create algorithms that could predict when employees might leave their jobs.

LinkedIn said that hiQ violated the anti-hacking law above, while hiQ accused LinkedIn of being anti-competitive. hiQ sued LinkedIn, stating that public data must remain public.

As mentioned, the 9th US Circuit of Appeals prevented LinkedIn from blocking hiQ, stating that the law does not apply in situations where the data is already publicly available.

Since then, however, LinkedIn had made its case to the Supreme Court that hiQ’s bots can harvest data on a scale beyond what a person can do. Additionally, some of that data had been posted for sale.

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IRSDC invites RFQ for redevelopment of Udaipur railway station

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The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Ltd (IRSDC) has invited Requests for Qualification (RFQ) to redevelop Udaipur City Railway Station, officials said on Saturday.

The IRSDC in a statement said that the objective is to redevelop Udaipur railway station into a modern station with state of the art amenities.

It said that the redeveloped station has been envisioned to be transformed into an integrated railway station at par with an international airport.

“The station will be redeveloped on a Design-Build Finance Operate Transfer (DBFOT) model using principles of Transit Oriented Development (TOD). The concession period shall be 60 years and the concessionaire shall have the obligation to redevelop and maintain the station for 60 years along with the right to collect revenue from station users and commercial development,” it said.

It added that the total area for mandatory development is 49,8115 square meter and the built-up area for station estate development is up to 1,0,1374 square meter.

“The pre-bid meeting will be held on August 6, and the deadline for bid submission is August 31,” it said.

S.K. Lohia, MD and CEO, IRSDC said, “Udaipur City is a tourist destination of global repute. The redevelopment of the railway station aims to transform it into an iconic hub on the lines of an international airport and reimagine the travel experience.”

Lohia said that it will position the station as a fitting gateway to the city of Udaipur and have a multiplier effect on the local economy in terms of the generation of employment opportunities and subsequent commercial development.

“As a nodal organisation entrusted with station redevelopment, IRSDC is fully committed to deliver the project as per the schedule and contribute to India’s growth story,” he said.

The IRSDC said that redevelopment envisages a new east-side entry station building, with plans for new East-West Road connectivity through Railway Under-Bridges, connectivity with ISBT through commercial land via a network of pedestrian walkways, segregation of entry/exit in the station and easy signage for all types of passengers.

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Telcos sought relief in guise of arithmetical errors: SC in AGR case

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The Supreme Court has said that the telecom companies’ plea seeking ‘rectification’ of defects in computation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) would lead to recalculation of the amount in AGR dues, which has already been rejected by the top court last year.

In a big setback for telcos, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed their plea seeking correction of alleged errors in AGR calculation as misconceived. A day after the top court pronounced the judgment in the matter, it was uploaded on its website on Saturday afternoon.

The telcos had urged the top court to permit the Centre to verify their accounts and rectify the alleged defects in the computation of AGR dues, stating that if it is not allowed, the matter could threaten some of them in a highly competitive sector.

Dismissing the telcos’ plea, a bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said: “Though these applications appear to be innocuous at first blush, the end result of the relief sought by the applicants in the guise of correction or rectification of the defects or arithmetical errors in calculation of AGR dues, would be recalculation which would amount to the AGR dues, as specified in the order of this court dated July 20, 2020, being altered.”

The bench, also comprising justices S. Abdul Nazeer and M.R. Shah, noted that even at the time of passing of the July 20, 2020 order, an attempt was made to seek recalculation and reassessment, which was rejected by the top court outright.

“The dispute relating to AGR dues had remained pending in courts for a very long period of time and bearing this in mind, this court was at pains to emphasise, at the cost of repetition, that the AGR dues payable by the TSPs (telecom service providers) cannot be the subject matter of any future litigation,” the bench said, making it clear that any application for altering the AGR dues cannot be entertained.

The telcos had argued that the accounts pertaining to several years had to be scrutinised to arrive at the amounts payable by them towards AGR dues.

The companies had contended that a scrutiny of the accounts had revealed that certain ‘arithmetical errors’ had arisen due to inadvertence on the part of the Department of Telecommunications while computing the dues.

They argued that the top court judgment passed on September 1, 2020 needed clarification as even calculation errors cannot be rectified by the Union of India in view this judgment.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Vodafone Idea, had referred to a note to demonstrate certain glaring errors in the demand raised by the Centre wherein amounts that have already been paid by the company were not taken into account for computing the outstanding AGR dues.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Airtel, had submitted that the errors committed in computation of its AGR dues arose due to double counting of some revenue items, payments made but not accounted for, and accrued deductions not being given effect to.

Singhvi said that his client should not be made to suffer for certain calculation errors made by the Centre.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing Tata, had submitted that there is no prohibition in seeking rectification of inadvertent errors committed in the calculation of AGR dues.

According to a note submitted by the DoT in the top court last year, Vodafone Idea owed Rs 58,254 crore, out of which it had paid around Rs 7,850 crore; Bharti Airtel owed Rs 43,980 crore of which it had paid over Rs 18,000 crore; and Tata Telecom owed Rs 16, 798 crores, out of which it had paid Rs 4,197 crore.

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Go First operates first night flight from Jammu to Delhi

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Budget airline Go First, formerly known as GoAir, has operated the first ever night flight from Jammu to Delhi.

Accordingly, the flight ‘G8 196’ – took off at 8.00 p.m. on Friday and was operated on Airbus A320neo.

“Going forward, Go First will operate scheduled flight from Jammu to Delhi and Srinagar.”

“This heralds the beginning of a new era for the union territory that has long advocated the introduction of night flights for better connectivity with the rest of the country.”

Notably, the airline, will operate four flights a week from Jammu on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to Delhi and three flight from Jammu on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday to Srinagar, respectively.

According to Kaushik Khona, Chief Executive Officer, Go First: “This initiative will assist the farming community and also strengthen the tourism sector, which plays a major role in the economic growth of the region.”

“We will continue to provide better connectivity and play a role in the economic development of J&K. Go First is also strengthening the network across the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir by enhancing the number of flights to-and-from Jammu to Delhi and Srinagar.”

Earlier this year, the carrier signed an MoU with the J&K government for the transport of perishable horticulture and agriculture produce to international markets at competitive rates.

This is a boon to farmers in the region and is aiding them generate an optimum return for their produce, the airline said.

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