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Top 10 stories of the week: March 20th to March 26th 2017

In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 26th March 2017

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Indian Express and E2E for their support.

McDonald’s India app may have leaked personal info of 2.2M users

McDelivery, McDonald’s India application, was allegedly leaking personal data – including name, email addresses, phone number, home address, home co-ordinates and social profile links – for as many as 2.2 million of its users, according to Fallible, a cyber security company. In the blog post, Fallible says that it had contacted McDonald’s on the 4th of February 2017, received an acknowledgement from a Senior IT Manager at the company on the 13th of February, but as of the 18th of March, McDonald’s had still not fixed the application, and at the time that Fallible disclosed the vulnerability online, they hadn’t received an update from the company. Read it here

Vodafone and Idea to merge to form India’s largest telco: All the details

The largest telecom operator in India will no longer be Bharti Airtel: The board of Idea Cellular has approved the merger with Vodafone, with Vodafone India Ltd and its wholly owned subsidiary Vodafone Mobile Services Limited, with the entire business of these two companies being vested with Idea Cellular; this will not include Vodafone’s investment in Indus Towers, its international network assets and IT platforms. Post merger, Vodafone will own 45.1%, the promoters of Idea will hold 26%, and the balance shares will be held by the public. The deal is expected to be completed in as long as 2 years (during 2018), largely owing to the complexity of the transactions, and the approvals required. Read it here

STAR CEO Uday Shankar on courts, censorship and the Internet as a “progressive challenger”

“That is truly frightening,” Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO of STAR India, said at FICCI Frames 2017 this morning, pointing to the growing trend of censorship in India, saying that “in 2015-2016, the censor board refused certification to 77 movies. This number was 47 in the previous year and only 23 the year before.” The censorship has been inexplicable, he illustrated, saying that “Even a word like – forgive me for using it – “saali”, has to be silenced in a film. Read it here

Ministry of Health begins consultation on online platform for regulating medicine sales

India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has mooted the idea of an electronic platform for regulating the sale of medicines in India, and has begun a public consultation to accept comments regarding this proposal. Comments may be sent to epharmacy.drugs-mohfw@gov.in before the 15th of April 2017. A brief summary of the proposal:

1. The portal: An online platform for regulating the sale of drugs in India will be developed, which will be maintained by an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The revenue model proposed for this portal involves a small transaction fee of not more than 1% of total cost of medicines, subject to a ceiling of Rs 200 per prescription, to be paid online by pharmacies/ e-pharmacies/ wholesale /retail distributions, etc.”, as well as a “small amount of registration fee and renewal fee for manufacturers/ pharmacies/hospitals/ clinical establishments, etc.” Read it here

Govt to make Aadhaar mandatory for tax returns after July 1st 2017; Why they’re desperate

How desperate is the government of India to get everyone under Aadhaar? What is this extreme urgency to force everyone to get an Aadhaar, while the case on the constitutionality of Aadhaar is yet to be determined by the Supreme Court? Why the sneaky tactics?

In a move that is in violation of the Supreme Court order of not making Aadhaar mandatory, the Union Government has introduced amendments to the Finance Bill 2017 at the last minute, making Aadhaar mandatory for filing taxes. Read it here

RBI dangles wallet interoperability but prescribes tougher norms for companies

Wallets may be allowed access to interoperable payment systems provided that players will comply with the enhanced eligibility criteria and instructions on safety, security, risk mitigation, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a draft circular.

Interoperability between payment systems is one the Unified Payments Interface (UPI)’s hallmark and wallets companies are not allowed on UPI currently. Read it here

Why UIDAI and Aadhaar will not be fixing basic issues in the system

by St_Hill

Most debates around UIDAI and Aadhaar focus on privacy concerns, security of the database and on the legality of making Aadhaar mandatory. Even if these three issues get sorted out, there are four other basic issues that need attention. In all these four issues, you will see the following common themes

1. It is very likely that UIDAI knows the existence of the issue

2. Entities other than UIDAI are using Aadhaar incorrectly and sometimes dangerously

3. UIDAI has framed policies protecting itself from implications of these wrong usages

4. UIDAI is unlikely to address these issues, because solving them may reduce the usage and acceptance of Aadhaar

Issue #1: UIDAI knows that Aadhaar is not an address proof, and that the industry uses it as an address proof, but will choose to remain silent about it. Read it here

On the Payments Regulatory Board and RBI’s lack of neutrality

The Finance Act, passed yesterday in Parliament using a voice vote, will enable the setting up of a Payments Regulatory Board, to regulate payments in the country. The changes essentially amend provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, to replace the Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payments and Settlement with the Payments Regulatory Board, for the regulation and supervision of payments and settlement systems. Read it here

Ekta Kapoor says her digital shows will cater to radical views, individual tastes

Ekta Kapoor, Joint MD and Creative Director of Balaji Telefilms, which going to formally launch the Alt Balaji app very soon, is looking at the digital medium for a different kind of storytelling. Asked at FICCI Frames about what changes for her as a storyteller with the digital medium, she said highlighted the differences between films, TV and digital as media to create content for: “These are three different mediums that cater to the same women in three different ways. We all have a family face, the outside world face and an individual ‘us‘ face. Read it here

It’s official: Mandatory to link mobile number to Aadhaar within a year

Following Aadhaar being made compulsory for Income Tax returns, it will now be mandatory to link mobile numbers to Aadhaar. The Department of Telecom has issued a note saying that all telecom operators will have ensure that their subscribers link mobile numbers to Aadhaar number within a year. A copy of the DoT notification is available here. Read it here

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