Experts point to data bill issues; crypto exchanges seek new revenue streams

The latest iteration of India’s data protection bill, released last week, gives the government plenty of leeway to expand its powers, various experts told us. They said one of the most worrisome aspects of the bill is the broad exemptions the government has granted itself. Justice BN Srikrishna, who helped draft the first draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill in 2018, shared this view, saying: “The government has received a blank check with this bill.

Also in this letter:
■ Crypto blues pushes exchanges to look for new revenue streams
■ India Inc to take inspiration from government on Twitter blue ticks
Government wants ecomm, hotel and travel platforms to reveal rating methodology

Data bill gives government plenty of leeway to expand its powers: experts

The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 leaves a lot of leeway to the government to extend its powers through the executive rule-making process, legal and policy experts said.

The government published the new draft of the legislation on November 18 and invited public comment until December 17.

Yes, but: Although the draft has significantly simplified the legislation and addressed several industry concerns about previous versions of the bill, experts said the current version does not go into implementation details.

The subsequent rules, which will be notified later under the law, will define the exact guardrails under which data will be governed in India, they added.

Concerns about government exemptions: Experts also said the broad exemptions provided for government, both central and state, are concerning because government is the biggest collector of data and, therefore, the biggest trustee of data.

Much of it is “left to the rules” and “the executive branch in India has a reputation” for relying on the rules to expand its powers, said Mishi Choudhary, a technology lawyer and chief legal officer of the SFLC.

“The bill meets expectations to protect people but ensures that the government retains all power without any checks and balances,” Choudhary said.

Judge Srikrishna agrees: Justice BN Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court Justice of India who led a 10-member panel that released the first Personal Data Protection Bill in 2018, also expressed concern about the sweeping exemptions for the government in the latest bill.

“The government received a blank check with this bill. Whether central or state, they can do anything, anytime, under any article of the bill. This is concerning, because if you make an inroad into data protection as a fundamental right, it can no longer be guaranteed. They (the government) are not bound by the bill at all,” he told us in an interview.

Crypto blues pushes exchanges to seek new revenue streams

Crypto Exchanges

Regulatory ambivalence and weak demand sentiment Could Make Indian Crypto Players Consider Diversifying Their Revenue Sourcesand while exchanges say crypto will continue to be their mainstay, many analysts believe they may have little choice.

It’s started: Some of the space players have started exploiting potential adjacencies.

CoinDCX, which launched a venture capital investment arm, has invested in startups in the Web3 infrastructure space.

CoinSwitch Kuber, which also owns a venture capital fund for Web3 startups, is looking to become a broader retail investment platform, with other asset class options such as mutual funds and US actions on its application. Its venture capital investment arm has invested in 13 startups so far, nearly two-thirds of them in the Web3 infrastructure space, he said.

Globally, 2022 has been a turbulent year for the cryptocurrency industry, with stablecoin crashes earlier in the year and the recent collapse of FTX, once among the biggest crypto exchanges. -currency in the world.

Regulation roller coaster: In India, the journey of the crypto sector has been marked by ups and downs in terms of regulatory measures. These include an unofficial ban by the RBI in 2018 (which the Supreme Court overturned in 2020), several stop-start attempts to introduce a Crypto Bill in Parliament, and tough new crypto taxes. earlier this year.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, said last week that he did not think India’s crypto environment was very user-friendly and that exchange activity in the country was not viable.


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India Inc to take inspiration from government on Twitter blue ticks

Twitter Verification

India Inc says the government will need to learn how to respond to new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s decision to charge $8 a month for the blue tick user account verification badge on the platform.

Central promotion: Twitter has become a preferred platform, especially since the onset of Covid, for companies to announce new products, strategies and campaigns. Many honchos are also very active in promoting their businesses and brands, or sharing their views, on Twitter.

Yes, but: Most companies are currently hesitant to adopt an aggressive advertising strategy for the platform because they first want to see where Twitter’s new leadership is headed, the chief marketing officer of a top conglomerate has said.

The government’s opinion: The External Affairs spokesman said earlier this month the government would make a decision based “on the contours of the subscription service”. Law enforcement and government agencies use verified Twitter accounts to disseminate important public information.


Government wants ecomm, hotel and travel platforms to reveal rating methodology

E-commerce assessment

E-commerce companies and hotel and travel booking platforms should disclose their methodology for assigning stars to products and services on their platforms in accordance with a new set of standards published by the government to counter fake reviews on these sites.

Companies such as Tata Sons, Amazon, Flipkart, Zepto, Reliance, Google, Meta, Zomato, Swiggy, Meesho and Blinkit were part of a committee that helped the government develop these standards.

Details: Companies will also have to disclose whether a customer review is solicited, paid for or purchased, according to the new framework.

“The aim is to minimize bias and fraudulent reviews to begin with,” Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary at the Department of Consumer Affairs, said on Monday. The standards are currently self-regulating. However, they could be made mandatory in the future, Singh said.

They will come into force on November 25.

Other Top Stories by our journalists

Kalyan Krishnamurthy

Valuation reset coming next year, says Flipkart Group CEO: Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said at the 2022 Economic Times Startup Awards (ETSA) that Indian startups will go through a lot of turbulence and volatility over the next 12-18 months, as the funding crunch won’t begin to affect new-era tech companies until early next year. He added that things will improve after this and companies should focus on surviving this period.

SoftBank exec warns startups: Sumer Juneja, Managing Partner, India and EMEA, SoftBank Investment Advisers, told ETSA 2022 that Indian startups will need to understand their true value and review their valuations in line with their counterparts in markets such as the United States and Europe. “If you don’t realize what your true value is given the new cost of capital, it’s a dangerous game to play,” Juneja said.

Down rounds an acceptable option to extend the runway, say founders, CEOs: At a time when venture capital funding for startups is experiencing a marked slowdown, top founders, CEOs and investors have said raising funds in a fundraising round is a perfectly acceptable option for entrepreneurs if it provides them with much-needed liquidity and extends their cash trail. A down cycle occurs when a private company raises capital at a lower valuation than its previous funding cycle.

Global Choices We Read

Leak Details Apple’s Secret Dirt on Trusted Security Startup (Cable)
■ Elon Musk’s reduced Twitter in the face of the World Cup test (WSJ)
■ Bangladeshi food delivery startups struggle as funding dries up (Rest of the world)


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