In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 19th January 2020

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: E2E, for their support.

The beginnings of the Great Firewall of India?

The unintended consequence of the Supreme Court’s order on Internet Shutdowns in Kashmir — where it put down accountability norms for Internet shutdowns, and said that some essential websites should be accessible, is that it has given rise to the creation of the Great Indian Firewall: filters that control what users can and cannot access online. Read it here

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019: Protecting children’s data online

Decades after the first data protection laws were implemented, we still continue to struggle with some of the basics of personal data protection — how should personal data be defined? Corollary to this, is the question of whether some personal data matters more than others. Read it here

‘Nearly 75% of AGR dues would have served India’s digital mission’: Airtel on SC dismissing telcos’ review plea

After the Supreme Court dismissed review petitions filed by telcos including Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, which sought relief from the apex court’s earlier judgement on the payment of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), Bharti Airtel told MediaNama that the money now required to pay “punitive interest, penalty and interest on penalty which forms nearly 75% of AGR dues would have better served the digital mission of the country”. Read it here

Bombay HC orders removal of YouTube video reviewing Parachute coconut oil, says free speech not absolute

The Bombay High Court, in a judgement (see below) on January 15, directed a YouTube creator to takedown a video reviewing Parachute coconut oil, since “the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression is not an unfettered right,” and “while it is absolutely necessary to maintain and preserve the freedom of speech and expression,” it is equally necessary to have some restrictions on this freedom “for the maintenance of social order in democracy”. Read it here

RBI allows recurring payments using UPI for transactions upto Rs 2,000

The Reserve Bank of India, on January 10, said that the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) can be used for making recurring payments. With this, UPI users will be available to bypass the additional factor authentication (AFA) while making a payment to a regular merchant, as long as the amount is not more than Rs 2,000. Read it here

Rajasthan IT Department proposes new ‘smart card’: Report

The Department of IT at the Government of Rajasthan is exploring the possibility of an Aadhaar card like “smart card” for all state citizens, with the main objective of tracking government beneficiary schemes, reported the Times of India. Read it here

Of 625.4 million broadband connections in India, most are in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu

India had 625.42 million wireless and wireline broadband connections at the end of September 2019, an increase of 5% over a three-month period, according to data published by the telecom regulator TRAI. Read it here

‘Bloatware on Android devices can leave users’ data vulnerable’: 50+ privacy orgs write to Google

Android device manufacturers make smartphones equipped with pre-installed apps (bloatware), “which can leave users vulnerable to their data being collected, shared and exposed without their knowledge or consent,” said more than 50 privacy groups in an open letter to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. Read it here

2G internet on postpaid, broadband partially restored in J&K for accessing only ‘white-listed’ websites

2G internet services on post paid mobiles will be restored in the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi on January 15, but only for accessing “white-listed sites,” according to an order by the Home Department of the Jammu and Kashmir government. Read it here

Cards that haven’t been used for online transactions to be mandatorily disabled: RBI

Existing cards, both physical and virtual, that have never been used for online/ international/ contactless transactions will be “mandatorily” disabled, as per a notification by the Reserve Bank of India issued to banks and card issuers on January 15. Read it here