The Policy Wrap: CCI to probe Google’s alleged abuse of position in online news market, European Union unveils Digital Markets Act, and more
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Truecaller sees India’s Data Protection Bill positively
Truecaller has stated that it does not see any challenge or impact on its growth and business model due to the country's upcoming data protection law.
Alan Mamedi, CEO and Co-Founder at TrueCaller in an interview reported by PTI said that the company is and will continue to be fully compliant with Indian regulations, including the data protection law, as and when it is in place.
The CEO stated that TrueCaller sees the proposed data protection law ‘positively’, pointing out that it has pro-actively opted for localisation way back in 2018. He also added that the firm does not collect biometric data or sensitive information.
Google Analytics targeted by European Union (EU) legislation
The United States and the European Union have agreed upon a framework for a new data-sharing system, with the aim of stopping the torrent of data from the EU that is pouring towards the US by honing in on Analytics, Google’s landmark tool to measure web traffic and track user behaviour.
President of the United States, Joe Biden stated that “The framework underscores our commitment to privacy, to data protection and to the rule of law.”
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. added that “It will enable predictable and trustworthy data flows, balancing security, the right to privacy and data protection.”
If the stringent norms for cross border transfer of data under India’s daft Data Protection Bill are operationalized, India may have to explore similar agreements with other countries to ensure free and secure cross border flow of data.
European Union unveils the Digital Markets Act
The European Commission presented a digital services package comprising the Digital Services Act (DSA) and a Digital Markets Act (DMA) in December 2020.
On November 25, 2021, less than a year after the start of negotiations in the Council, member states unanimously agreed on the Council’s position on the DMA.
On March 25, 2022, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive.
The DMA defines clear rules for large online platforms. It aims to ensure that no large online platform that acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ for a large number of users abuses its position to the detriment of companies wishing to access such users.
The Council and the European Parliament agreed that for a platform to qualify as a gatekeeper firstly it must either have had an annual turnover of at least €7.5 billion within the European Union (EU) in the past three years or have a market valuation of at least €75 billion, and secondly, it must have at least 45 million monthly end-users and at least 10 000 business users established in the EU.
The platform must also control one or more core platform services in at least three member states. These core platform services include marketplaces and app stores, search engines, social networking, cloud services, advertising services, voice assistants and web browsers.
Shopee to shut India operations
Singapore-based e-commerce platform Shopee that launched in India in December 2021 has decided to close operations in the country.
As per an official statement, Shopee asserted that, “In view of the global market uncertainties, we have decided to close risks of our early-stage Shopee India initiative.”
The e-commerce platform has been hit by growing opposition against it from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) as well as homegrown social commerce start-ups, who allege that it has represented a back-door entry of Chinese company Tencent in clear violation of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.
Google Play to pilot a third-party billing option, starting with Spotify
Amid increasing global regulations over app stores and their commission structures, Google has announced the launch of a pilot program designed to explore what it calls “user billing choice.” The program will allow a small number of participating developers, starting with Spotify, to offer an additional third-party billing option next to Google Play’s own billing system in their apps.
Spotify said the pilot will roll out to all markets where Spotify Premium is available, which is 184 total markets worldwide. Google, however, cautioned the pilot will begin with select markets and build on the experience over time, and which regions would be first has yet to be determined.
The details of this new system are not publicly available right now. Rather, it will take Google’s product and engineering teams time to build the new experience over the coming months.
Once live, users will see the two billing options presented side-by-side directly in the Spotify app. If they choose the Spotify payment method, they’ll continue to checkout with Spotify’s own billing system and user interface. If they choose Google Play Billing, they will transition into the Google Play Billing experience instead.
France punishes Google over contracts for app developers
Google has been fined €2 million for abusive commercial practices and told to modify seven clauses in its contracts, according to a ruling by a commercial court in Paris.
One of the clauses forced developers to price their apps within a range set by Google, awarding the firm a 30% commission from each sale on the Play Store.
The court found that the disputed clauses had been imposed "without effective negotiation" and had created "a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties".
Competition Commission of India
CCI orders probe into Google’s alleged abuse of position in online news market
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered a probe into complaints against Google for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the online news market.
In a statement, the Indian Newspapers Society (INS) said that Alphabet Inc. (the parent company of Google), Google LLC, Google India Private Limited, Google Ireland Limited and Google Asia Pacific Pte Limited are allegedly abusing their dominant position related to news referral services and Google Ad Tech services in the Indian online news media market, which is in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.
The INS alleged that producers/publishers of news, which is made available in digital format, are not being paid a fair value for their content despite their having invested heavily in creating appropriate content for customers, who search for news items using the Google platform.
India’s aim is to become world’s largest startup destination: Union Minister Piyush Goyal
Addressing a session on ‘Gateway to Growth - Roundtable on Indian Startup Ecosystem’ in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal said, “Today we are the third-largest startup ecosystem, but our aspiration is to be the world’s number one startup destination. The startup bug has caught India’s imagination. The entire innovation ecosystem that the startup industry represents is giving a new direction, new momentum to India.”
On the Government’s role in promoting startups, the Minister said that India aims to provide a level playing field and the best business ecosystem to the Startups.
“We have recently finalized the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE, which is expected to further enhance bilateral trade, B2B engagement and explore attractive investment opportunities. I can assure you that we will take this partnership to newer heights in the areas of sustainability, aerospace, space technology, connectivity, AI, data analytics, 5G, Metaverse, etc. We look forward to leveraging each other’s offerings and expertise,” added the minister.
Number of recognised startups in India rises to 65,861, says govt
The government launched the 'Startup India' initiative on January 16, 2016, with an aim to build a stronger ecosystem for nurturing the startup culture that would further drive economic growth, support entrepreneurship, and enable large-scale employment opportunities.
Sustained efforts by the government have resulted in increasing the number of recognised startups from 726 in 2016-17 to 65,861 as of March 14, 2022, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The response also stated that recognised startups are spread across over 640 districts and have reported creation of more than seven lakh jobs with an average of 11 jobs being created by them.
The recognised startups, are spread across 56 diversified sectors including, Information Technology (IT) services, finance technology, technology hardware, enterprise software, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology.
With inputs from The Quantum Hub.