Weekly news round-up: May week 1

In this forum post, we have capsulated some of the important tech-policy updates of this week:

News Articles

  1. CCI tweak puts digital platforms in the line of antitrust fire: While investigating several digital platforms, India’s top antitrust watchdog recently tweaked the interpretation of ‘relevant market’ which has brought several digital platforms into the fold of an antitrust probe. (link)
  2. Centre asks VPN services to log, hand over customer data: India’s nodal agency for detecting and responding to cyber incidents, CERT-in recently issued new directives for data centres, virtual private server (VPS) providers, including cloud service providers mandating them to keep a log of all customer information for five years or longer. (link) Read our public statement here, and our explainer here.
  3. Sharing of biometric information not impermissible: UIDAI tells Delhi HC: In a status report before the High Court at Delhi, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has opposed a petition for identification of an unknown accused by using the Aadhaar Data bank and said that sharing of biometric information or use of biometric information for any purpose other than the generation of the Aadhaar number and its authentication is impermissible. (link)
  4. Kerala to link Aadhaar with land records: Kerala will soon initiate the process to link Aadhaar of persons with revenue records of property for landholders via its Revenue Land Information System (ReLIS). Under this, all lands a person owns will come under a single revenue record of the property, which will be a 12-digit number. (link)
  5. Health Stack is harder to roll out than Aadhaar: R.S. Sharma - RS Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority of India recently explained how rolling out the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is difficult to roll out, considering the multiple stakeholders and parties involved. The ABDM has multiple players with many levels of involvement such as digitized health records for patients, a health claims exchange for insurers, a health facility registry for doctors, a drug registry, and the involvement of hospitals to consume and process the data. (link) It must be also noted that the Draft Revised Health Data Management Policy, released on April 23, 2022 is currently open for public comments.

IFF’s Blogposts, External Events/ Tweets

  1. Digital Transparency Report for April 2022: The RTI Act is thus one of the most important tools at the disposal of the public to engage with, and demand transparency and accountability from, the Government. We use the Act to routinely extract information about various ongoing policies and projects that the Government launches. For the month of April 2022, IFF has filed 40 RTI applications. (link)
  2. Explainer: Understanding the new CERT-in guidelines: On April 28, 2022, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issued fresh directions (No. 20(3)/2022-CERT-In) under section 70B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 in relation to the information security practices, procedure, prevention, response, and reporting of cyber incidents. Issued without public consultations, these directions raise serious concerns related to state sponsored surveillance and data retention beyond need or purpose. (link) You can also read our public statement [here].
  3. Hands off my “stuff”: Given the increasing incidents of random phone checking by police in several cities across the nation, IFF organised an event on what can be done when faced with such a situation. Jeevika Shiv, an advocate and a feminist social worker; and Tara Narula, an independent litigator spoke on the search powers of the police and answered other pertinent questions. [link] You can also read our live-tweet thread here.