Policy Wrap: EU regulators declares Meta’s ad practices as illegal, announces penalty worth €390m, NCLAT orders Google to deposit 10% of total penalty regarding the Android bundling case, and more
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EU regulators declares Meta’s ad practices as illegal, announces penalty worth €390m
EU regulators finds Meta guilty of illegally forcing users to accept personalised ads and slaps a 390 m euro fine. This is the first major judgement passed by the EU regulators since the 27-nation bloc introduced the data privacy law in 2018, aimed at putting a stop to companies like Facebook to collect user information without their prior consent.
This ruling will potentially require Meta to make drastic and expensive changes to its ad-based business in the bloc.
How Meta obtains users' consent to collect their data for individualised advertising is central to the dispute. Currently, the company includes language that effectively requires users to consent to the usage of their data for targeted advertising or refrain from using Meta's social media services. The terms of service agreement is the lengthy document that users must sign before accessing sites like Facebook and Instagram.
Authorities found that forcing users to accept personalised adverts by including the legal authorization in the terms of service violated the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, a European regulation.
Meta now has three months to determine how it will comply with the ruling. They have an option of allowing users to choose whether to share data for such promotions, but it would result in an inability on Meta’s part to utilise one of its most valuable part of the business.
NCLAT orders Google to deposit 10% of total penalty regarding the Android bundling case
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) ordered that Google India pre-deposit 10% of the Rs 1,337 crore penalty for abuse of power that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had issued on the company and gave a stay on the rest of the penalty amount.
On October 20, the CCI had imposed a Rs. 1,337 crore penalty on Google for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device market. Additionally, the commission had given cease-and-desist directives on a number of unfair business tactics by the commission.
The Tribunal noted that Google had only filed an appeal on December 20 on the penalty decision which had been given by the competition authority on October 20, indicating a "lack of urgency" on the part of the firm. Due to this, no stay was granted on the directions given by CCI to Google as part of the verdict.
NCLAT will have the final hearing of both the parties on the 3rd of April to decide on the main appeal.
MeitY proposes amendment to IT Rules, 2021, to include online gaming
On Monday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recommended an amendment to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, to include online gaming. The modifications, which were made available for public comment, would mandate that all gaming firms must ensure that an online game is registered with and approved by a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) before hosting, publishing, or advertising an online game for a consideration.
It also made necessary player authentication using Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations in the draught rules that were issued on Monday. Betting or wagering on the outcome of any game will not be allowed. Additionally, it will be necessary for gaming companies to have a physical presence in India. What is considered illegal gambling will be decided by the SRO [Self Regulatory Organization], according to Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar. “If there is a practice where some foreign betting websites are permitted to advertise on Indian intermediaries, it is certainly our intent that it must not be permitted” he said.
Shri also Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that gaming companies that do not adhere to the new regulations will lose their safe harbour and may face legal action.
Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel & Paytm voice support for data localisation
Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Paytm are opposing the government's decision to permit the transfer of Indians' personal data to "trusted regions." In opposition to the position taken by the industry's nodal group, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), they are requesting that data pertaining to Indians be stored within the nation.
Through a submission made through IAMAI, Airtel, Paytm, and Jio have formally informed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, MeitY, of their views.
As per the current draft of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, the government would designate a country or territory into a "whitelist" for which personal data may be transmitted from India.
The telecom giants claim that any data transfer will make it extremely difficult for Indian law enforcement officials to access data of Indian citizens after it is processed by an offshore telco or a tech company situated in a foreign country.
RBI plans to extend use cases of digital rupee, to include more banks
After the current pilot project with the digital version of the currency is over, the Reserve Bank of India will consider extending the use cases for the digital rupee. In order to test a larger range of use cases, the regulator is also aiming to add additional institutions to the project's current roster of 4 banks.
In its financial stability report, the central bank stated that "additional features and applications of the e-rupee token and architecture may be attempted in future pilots based on the learnings from the current pilot."
On December 1, a restricted user group made up of retailers and customers comprised of the first trial e-rupee in the retail industry.
The regulator claims that because the digital rupee is a direct responsibility of the central bank and has characteristics of actual cash, such as trust, safety, and fast settlement finality in digital transactions, it will offer the public a risk-free means of exchange.
Person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transaction use cases are being tested in the present pilot project within a limited user group. It will also put the generation, distribution, and retail use of digital rupees under real-time stress testing.
UPI, RuPay payments now a reality in Europe
In order to facilitate Indian digital payment methods in Europe, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) recently partnered with French financial-transaction company Worldline. Users can now use their RuPay cards to conduct POS and UPI transactions using QR code-based payment.
RuPay card and UPI have made it easier to pay for transactions as a result of the NPCI's initiatives. In numerous nations, including Oman, Saudi Arabia, and France, NPCI has worked with banks and payment businesses. There will be a UPI facility available for Indian nationals in these nations.
NPCI already has partnerships with United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Nepal, and Bhutan. In some of these nations, the partnership only applies to UPI, whilst in others, RuPay cards can be used at POS terminals.
The matter is being actively pushed during talks with foreign officials, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. For the time being, the emphasis is primarily on nations that have a sizable diaspora or receive a large number of Indian tourists. In 2019, more than 25 million Indians travelled overseas and spent more than USD 23 billion.
Amazon to lay off over 18,000 employees, indicates extended season of mass layoffs in 2023
In an effort to reduce expenses, e-commerce behemoth Amazon has implemented yet another wave of mass layoffs. Over 18,000 employees across divisions would be affected by the most recent cutbacks, CEO Andy Jassy stated in a statement to the team. In response to inflation and rising interest rates, major tech businesses have been laying off employees in large numbers recently. The "uncertain economy" and "rapid hiring," according to Andy Jassy, are to blame for the job layoffs.
According to analysts, the massive job cuts by Amazon.com Inc, one of the biggest private employers in the United States, show that the wave of layoffs sweeping across the IT sector might continue until 2023. Tracking website Layoffs.fyi reveals that tech companies laid off more than 150,000 workers in 2022 as a demand boom during the pandemic quickly turned into a bust. This number is rising as growth in the world's largest economies starts to decrease.
According to executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., employment cutbacks in 2022, following a global pandemic, increased by 649% from 2021, with technology businesses leading the way.
When Meta Platforms Inc. slashed 11,000 workers last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed he had mistakenly believed the pandemic boom would continue.
Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet, two tech heavyweights, have already hinted at cost-cutting measures that may include layoffs.
As he revealed plans to eliminate 10% of the positions, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce Inc, claimed that the enterprise software company had hired "too many employees."
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