The Policy Wrap: Dating apps flag monopolistic practices of Apple and Google, FM highlights need for regulating cryptocurrency, and more
The Policy Wrap is ADIF’s weekly newsletter on all things policy in the Indus Valley Ecosystem and beyond. Share your feedback and comments with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data Protection Bill: Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) wants age of consent to be lower than 18
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which represents domestic and global companies such as Meta, Google, Disney Star, Dell and Reliance Jio, has opposed 18 as the age of consent for children under the proposed Data Protection Bill 2021.
IAMAI has instead suggested a ‘risk-based approach’ to the age of consent – saying that parental consent should be limited, if not removed altogether.
The IAMAI added that the requirement of a ‘data fiduciary’ to verify children’s age should be removed as well to avoid creating any further privacy risks that may arise because of the collection of potentially sensitive information.
IAMAI noted that other countries have different ways of handling the age of consent debate. For instance, the EU pegs the age of consent at 16 years, and in the US, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act limits the age of consent to 13 years. Further, countries such as France, Austria, and Belgium have the age of consent of 15, 14, and 13 years, respectively.
EU-US trans-Atlantic data transfers ‘deal in principle’ faces tough legal review
The political agreement reached late last month between the European Union and the United States on a new trans-Atlantic data transfers pact, which aims to end years of legal uncertainty for businesses exporting data from the bloc, is not yet a done deal. The deal in principle faces scrutiny in the coming months once the full text is published – and will most likely face fresh legal challenges if it does get adopted, so everything hinges on the details.
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), which advises on compliance with EU data protection law, put out a statement saying it will be paying “special attention to how this political agreement is translated into concrete legal proposals.”
In particular, the EDPB will analyse whether the collection of personal data for national security purposes is limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate.
In addition, the EDPB will examine how the announced independent redress mechanism respects European Economic Area (EEA) individuals’ right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial.
More specifically, the EDPB will look into whether any new authority part of this mechanism has access to relevant information, including personal data, when exercising its mission and whether it can adopt decisions binding on the intelligence services. The EDPB will also consider whether there is a judicial remedy against this authority’s decisions or inaction.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlights need for regulating cryptocurrency
Speaking at a high-level panel titled ‘Money at a Crossroad: Public or Private Digital Money?' organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that cryptocurrency could be used for money laundering and terror funding, and therefore needed to be regulated at the global level.
She also added that regulation using technology will have to be adept and nimble and should be ahead of the curve, and that this is not possible if any one country is to handle it.
With regard to taxing income generated from transactions in crypto assets, Sitharaman said it is a means to check the source and trail but not to legitimise them.
Finally, she mentioned that the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), is going to happen sometime this year – when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is planning to come out with a central bank-backed digital currency using blockchain technology.
Competition Commission of India (CCI)
CCI notifies new confidentiality regulations
CCI notified new Confidentiality Regulations by creating the concept of "Confidentiality Rings" comprising authorized representatives of parties who will be able to access the confidential documents.
These persons would be bound by undertakings to not disclose confidential information to any person outside the Confidentiality Ring including representatives of their own organization/subsidiaries/JVs etc.
Also, as per these new regulations, the informant may or may not be part of such a Confidentiality Ring, depending on whether the informant in the ring is considered necessary or expedient for effective inquiry. These regulations are likely to apply to proceedings being instituted post-date of notification (8th April 2022).
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to probe the Rs 5 stores of Flipkart-owned Shopsy
Shopsy is a social e-commerce platform launched by Flipkart in July 2021. The app will enable individuals to set up their own businesses without any capital investment, and help them resell products through social media channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Rs 5 store or Loot Store is a special deal offered by Shopsy in which certain products are available at heavily discounted prices i.e. less than Rs 5. Delivery charges are also not levied on products.
CAIT has requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to carry out an investigation into offers of this kind. They have stated that Flipkart is killing small traders with predatory pricing and deep discounting tactics.
Dating apps flag monopolistic practices of Apple and Google
Dating apps have flagged concerns with respect to app marketplaces run by internet giants Google and Apple, alleging monopolistic practices.
The MatchGroup, which runs some of the largest dating apps globally such as Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid raised the issue in a recent filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), listing India as one of the jurisdictions that are looking at regulating/investigating these practices.
They highlighted that the manner in which Apple and Google operate these (payment processing) services is being reviewed by legislative and regulatory bodies globally.
They stated that they pay Apple and Google, as applicable, about 30% of the revenue received from these transactions. Although, as of January 1, Google has reduced the percentage applicable to subscriptions to 15% for some app developers. Executives at Indian dating apps said even with this reduction it will significantly dent their revenues.
Snehil Khanor, cofounder and chief executive officer at TrulyMadly.com, said “When we are forced to remove those known Indian brands like PayTM, our paying percentage also drops .. so, we are looking at a 40-50% drop in our revenue. On top of that, whatever revenue comes in will be with a 30% commission, so it is almost as good as killing the companies.”