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All that happened in the technology law world while we were gone

Hey guys!  

We are back from our sabbatical. The last month was very tough on everyone, and we too lost some family and friends. Please take a moment to pray for those lost souls and another moment for the well-being of all humankind. God Bless! 

Before we resume operations this week, I thought it would be a good idea to catch up with all that happened in the past two weeks. I have major FOMO, and hopefully this will calm my nerves and those of all tech news junkies out there. 

Let’s start with the Government’s drone exemptions frenzy. 

It has exempted several governments and entities from the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules, 2021, for different reasons. Most importantly, it has exempted the Government of Telangana for conducting experimental delivery of vaccines using drones, both within visual line of sight (VLOS) and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) range operations.  

The Madhya Pradesh Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Co. Ltd. (MPMKVVCL) has been exempted for drone-based acquisition, mapping and aerial survey of Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, and Jabalpur for developing a web-based solar roof-top tool; Pipeline Infrastructure Limited for drone-based aerial monitoring of its natural gas pipeline between Nalgona and Ranga Reddy Districts in Telangana; Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. for drone-based inspection of equipment and stacks etc. at its Panipat refinery, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for conducting drone-based aerial surveys at Kerandari coal mining project in Jharkhand; and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. for aerial inspection of the Agra-Aligarh power transmission line using drones. 

The Central Government also constituted the ‘BVLOS Experiment Assessment and Monitoring (BEAM) Committee’ to invite expression of interest (EoI) to undertake BVLOS experimental flight of drones. It receives 34 EoIs and selected 20 applications. Most notable applicants are Dunzo Air Consortium and Spicejet Ltd. 

Don’t expect cigarette deliveries over Dunzo Drones though, not gonna happen! 

Now let’s make way for the fintech industry. 

The RBI has been on the move. It has expanded the scope of video KYC for small and medium businesses among other new categories of customers. KYC banking entities can now convert limited accounts to complete KYC-compliant accounts using video KYC. Pending KYC deadline has been extended to December 31st, 2021. It has also set up a Working Group to regulate Digital lending. The committee will submit a report within three months, including a fair practice code. 

Google has launched international money transfers with Wise and Western Union for its US users. Google pay users can now transfer money to India and Singapore. 

Crypto is going mad! People have taken diversity of opinion to the next level while the regulatory void continues to cause anxiety to developers and investors alike.  

On one hand, Dogecoin reached India and crashed crypto exchanges and its popularity has multiplied exponentially to challenge the popularity of Nifty and Sensex. Some people bought the ‘Dogecoin killer’ Shiba Inu but its price dropped as though a coconut freefalling off a tree. WazirX announced it would refund users who lost money with WRX. 

On the other hand, the RBI has reportedly asked banks to cut ties with cryptocurrency exchanges and traders, and multiple banks have started to block banking services to crypto-currency exchanges in India.  

The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council, which lobbies for crypto sector regulations, is asking the Government to follow the Singapore model to regulate cryptocurrency. One former Finance Secretary to the Government of India has suggested that the government should regulate and control cryptocurrencies instead of prohibiting them. 

Meanwhile, NFTs continue to buzz as eBay has announced NFT sales on its platform

The grim Cyber Security situation 

An oil pipeline in the U.S. shut down thanks to a ransomware attack. The country announced a State of Emergency in 17 states and the District of Columbia. As the pipeline becomes operational, the organisation behind the attack has reportedly gone dark, and its Bitcoins have been seized by the U.S. government.  

In an even more worrying situation, the Irish health services were shut down after being hit by a sophisticated ransomware attack. The health service operator had to shut down all IT systems. Health services, meaning even COVID-19 vaccine programs were affected. It also faced a second attack as it continues to mitigate the situation.  

To counter China and Russia, the U.K has announced that it would invest 22 million pounds to help vulnerable countries in Africa and Indo-pacific to build cyber defences. India has reportedly held up approvals for import of wifi modules from China, along with finished electronic devices containing wifi modules. And finally, as expected, the shit has hit the ceiling and fallen on Flipkart. The data exposed in BigBasket hack is causing trouble for Flipkart as well as other companies. 

Updates on privacy 

IFF has raised its concerns about the AgriStack project. The most useless app of year, Aarogya Setu, is to help build a database of plasma doners.  

A group of 40 state attorney generals have urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch Instagram for kids. Facebook would definitely listen to us. Why, its track record proves it cares about the concerns of its users! Even ToR is not to be trusted, as over 25% of its exit relays spied on user activities

WhatsApp is arm-twisting users into accepting its new privacy policy, but telling the Delhi High Court that it is not forcing users to accept it. While the Government of India is still ‘looking for action on the issue’, the German data regulator has termed the privacy policy illegal and banned it for three months. Meanwhile, despite Facebook and WhatsApp suggesting that ad tracking can be helpful to us, only 4% of users in the U.S opted for ad tracking on iOS. 

Lastly, in other news, an Amazon fake review scam has affected nearly 2 lakh users. In a totally bizarre but in a funny turn of events, a man called Google support for assistance and ended up assisting them instead. Lol!  

And finally! PUBG is back

I hope you find this compilation useful. Let me know in the comments below! Me and my team would continue to report on our favourite topic tomorrow onwards. Till then, take care! 

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Rohit Ranjan Praveer

Rohit is a practicing advocate at Delhi. Beginning as a tech enthusiast, Rohit always had a keen interest in computer forensics and information security. Building upon these fundamentals, he has undertaken extensive research on various techno-legal topics and continues his pursuit pass on valuable information to the masses, with a zeal to build something that outlasts him.​

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