Technology Policy & Regulations 2021

Plan C is an endeavor of the contributors at My Lawrd to track recent developments in the Indian techno legal space. During many of our research projects, we felt an urge to consolidate recent developments for convenience, reliability, and efficiency. Although the so aggregated information was initially thought to be used within our organization, our kind contributors, who also happen to be passionate about the technology law community, decided to share this information with you folks! So here’s what’s happening in Technology Regulations in 2021. Happy reading & researching!

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#1

Date: 02.01.2021 

“FDI: Amazon, Flipkart face RBI, ED probe”

Amazon and Flipkart have been ordered a probe against for alleged violation of FDI norms and the enforcement Directorate is involved. Previously a three- member committee of from the Commerce and Industry Ministry had reviewed the complaints against the E-Commerce giants. There were also complaints of violations of FEMA regulations and the RBI and ED will be responsible to investigate the charges. However, a Flipkart spokesperson said it is fully complaint with the applicable laws and regulations whereas, the Amazon India spokesperson declined to comment.  FDI rules do not allow the entry of overseas retailers into the country in the multi-brand segment or e-commerce. As a result, Amazon and Flipkart, which is now majority controlled by Walmart, are operating what they call are marketplaces. 

Source: https://legal.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/fdi-amazon-flipkart-face-rbi-ed-probe/80069658 

#2

Date :  02.01.2021 

“Atomic, defence, space units look for collaborations with private companies”

With the view to encourage industry and R&D labs, academia working together, the Government has taken the initiative to ensure India’s atomic, space and defence labs will be tasked with identifying projects that they can work on and build jointly with private companies and academia, as per the draft science and technology policy released on Thursday.

The potential expertise of academics and industry will be tapped to undertake design and developments with necessary non-disclosure agreements for the benefit of the country, it said. Department of Science and Technology secretary Ashutosh Sharma  was of the opinion that strategic labs will become more self reliant if they are connected with the outside world and there needs to be a better exchange of ideas across places. Projects by India’s strategic labs are often delayed or exceed budgets due to the focus on building technology and systems in-house.  

Sharma cited the example of how, during Covid-19, government labs, industry and academia collaborated to make a world-class ventilator in three months. The policy proposes that strategic organizations have a clear plan of transferring technology for commercial applications so that startups and commercial firms can take it to the market. 

Source: https://legal.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/atomic-defence-space-units-look-for-collaborations-with-private-companies/80069676 

#3

Date:  07.01.2021 

CCPA issues show cause notices to companies for misleading information”

The Central Consumer Protection Authority has suo moto issued notices to companies for misleading and misguiding statements during the Covid-19 pandemic. The notice has also been issued to Cab Companies as well which resort to unfair trade practices w.r.t. refund of extra fare. Along with this recently CCPA took the matter of failed/cancelled transactions while using the banking services like IMPS, UPI, etc. where money has not been refunded to consumers or where the settlement timeline has not been adhered to RBI. CCPA has also asked the IRDAI to look into the matters of delay in getting the claim amount by the consumers.  

Source: https://legal.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/ccpa-issues-notices-to-companies-for-misleading-advertisements/80092441  

#4

Date: 13.01.2021

“Petition claiming unsolicited emails sent by central government departments”

A petition was filed before the Delhi HC claiming that the petitioner is receiving unsolicited emails from central government departments and authorities, including from the Prime Minister Office (PMO).  These emails are part of the ‘e-sampark’ mechanism of the government under which various schemes and activity of the government is shared with the general public. In this regard, Justice Pratibha M Singh asked the petitioner to unsubscribe to the emails and ordered the central government to not send such unsolicited emails to the petitioner. 

Source: https://legal.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/plea-claims-unsolicited-emails-sent-by-central-govt-depts-hc-says-unsubscribe-from-them/80245135 

#5

Date: 15.01.2021

“Panel on Information Technology proposes reasonable curbs on OTT content”

On 13.01.2021, the parliamentary standing committee deliberated on the issue of protecting creative freedom and imposing reasonable restriction on content on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms. In this regard, Central Board of Film Certification Chief, Prasoon Joshi stated the need for censure of content running against the Indian Laws. Joshi also advocated the Mudgal Committee report of 2013 which advocates the India to move from censorship to certification. He considered Shyam Benegal Committee report on censorship to be redundant because of the advances in technology and arrival of OTT platforms.  

Source: https://legal.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/parliamentary-panel-on-information-technology-calls-for-reasonable-curbs-on-ott-content/80281168 

#6

Date: 17.01.2021

“Govt Prioritizing Self-Regulation of News and OTT Platforms”

To create a level playing field, the Indian government in planning to legislate a statute for regulating OTT platforms and news websites. This legislation is supposed to define a framework for the self-regulation of such platforms, and address the issues of sensitive content and fake news.   

Source: https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/certified-copies-whatsapp-chats-maybe-relied-on-ndps-probe-punjab-and-haryana-high-court 

#7

Date: 17.01.2021

“Uncertified Whatsapp messages to have no evidentiary value: Punjab and Haryana High Court” 

In the case of Rakesh Kumar Singh v. UOI, the Punjab and Haryana HC ruled that only messages certified under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act will bear an evidentiary value.  Under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act electronic records are required to be certified by a person occupying a responsible position. Without this certification, the evidence cannot be admitted as an evidence in court proceeding.   

Source: https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/certified-copies-whatsapp-chats-maybe-relied-on-ndps-probe-punjab-and-haryana-high-court

#8

Date 18.01.2021 

‘Facebook and Twitter to depose to Parliamentary IT Committee on Jan 21’

The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, headed by Shashi Tharoor has called the representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on January 21. 

The agenda of this scheduled meeting is to safeguard citizens’ rights, prevent misuse of social/online news media platforms, and ensure women’s security in digital space. 

Source: https://www.medianama.com/2021/01/223-facebook-twitter-depose-it-committee/ 

#9

Date: 19.01.2021 

 ‘IT Ministry contacts WhatsApp’s CEO to withdraw the controversial changes to terms’  

 The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote a letter Will Cathcart (WhatsApp’s CEO) to withdraw the recently updated terms.  

The recent controversial terms make the sharing of user’s data by Whatsapp to Facebook easier.  

Source: https://www.medianama.com/2021/01/223-it-ministry-whatsapp-terms/ 

#10

Date 16.10.2020 

‘Cabinet Committee announced National Security Directive for Telecom Sector’ 

 The cabinet committee on security has announced national security directive for telecom sector. This directive will provide the list of trusted sources and trusted products for installation by telecom service providers in the country.  The national cyber security coordinator is tasked to devise the methodology to designate trusted products based on the approval of a committee headed by Deputy National Security Advisor.  

A list of sources will also be created from whom procurement should not be made.  

Source:  https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/govt-announces-national-security-directive-on-telecom-sector-for-secure-networks 

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