In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 23rd April 2017

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How Sodexo is going digital in India

Last month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released draft guidelines for meal vouchers which said that they cannot be issued in paper form anymore and will have to move to digital means. Sodexo, one of India’s largest vouchers companies, had already begun digitizing its operations over 14 months ago by issuing a pre-paid card. However, unlike most pre-paid cards which allow purchasing of a wide range of product and services, Sodexo has chosen to limit usage of the card to only food and non-alcoholic beverages, and running its own proprietary acceptance network. Read it here

Netflix weighs in on net neutrality in India, after softening role in US

After stepping down from their prominent role in the net neutrality debate in the US, Netflix cautiously entered the dialogue in India yesterday, by filing a partial response to Indian telecom regulator TRAI’s latest consultation paper on net neutrality. Read it here

Jio wants Net Neutrality exceptions for Specialised and Managed services, Payments

Reliance Jio believes that a Net Neutrality exception should be created for “Specialized Services”, payments services, online customer care services. The Indian telecom regulator TRAI is is currently holding a public consultation on whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telecom operators (telcos) should be allowed to block, slow-down or speed-up certain websites and apps, referred to as blocking, throttling and traffic management. Read it here

The challenge that live streaming of suicides poses for Facebook

A 32-year-old man in Sonepat live streamed his suicide on his Facebook page on Sunday, PTI reports. The incident follows the death of a student who live-streamed his suicide from Mumbai on Facebook earlier this month. In Cleveland in the US, on Sunday, a 74-year-old was shot to dead live on Facebook, with the killer live streaming the shooting. Read it here

Supreme Court of India hears the WhatsApp-Facebook Data Sharing Case

The special leave petition against the Delhi High Court’s ruling upholding WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy came up for hearing before a bench of five judges today. This policy is contentious because it allows WhatsApp to share valuable personal information of its users, including phone numbers, contact lists and profile pictures, with its parent company Facebook. Read it here

India’s approach to Direct Carrier Billing is problematic

India’s Department of Telecommunications yesterday allowed mobile users to purchase digital content, like apps and e-books, by making payments from their prepaid balance and post-paid bills, up to a value of Rs 20,000. This follows a recommendation from the Watal Committee report on digital payments, which explicitly said that direct carrier billing is not permitted under current regulations, but that the RBI, TRAI and the DoT should allow Direct Carrier Billing. Read it here

Google plans to block pop-ups, auto-play video and prestitial ads: report

Google is planning to build ad-filtering plugins into Chrome browsers across desktop and mobile, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the Journal, the feature will be turned on by default on browsers and will block pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown, and other such ads that are defined as unacceptable by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA), an industry group. Read it here

Network 18 looking to sell its restaurant search business Burrp

Network 18’s board has approved the sale of restaurant search and recommendation service Burrp. “The board has given in-principle approval to sell/transfer/ otherwise dispose off or transfer Burrp to any other entity including a related party/ or strategic investor,” the company said in a notification to the stock exchanges. Read it here

AT&T wants TRAI to exempt IoT, specialised services from Net Neutrality requirements

US Telecom major AT&T has weighed in on India’s Net Neutrality debate, asking the Indian telecom regulator TRAI to create exceptions to Net Neutrality for a wide range of services, including online calling, video streaming, Internet of Things, enterprise and managed services, and even though this particular consultation is about throttling, it has asked for exemptions for such services even from the discriminatory pricing regulation, saying that the TRAI “should exempt enterprise services, specialized services and Internet of Things etc from any NN policy or regulation.” Read it here

RBI gives a wallet licence to a company which only allows you to pay for booze

Well, it is high times for digital payments. So, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted wallet licence to a Chennai-based company called HipBar which is looking to sell only booze online. Just booze, nothing else. But HipBar is taking the drinking very seriously and believes it can make a dent by using the wallet function to pay for alcohol online. Read it here