In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 8th March 2020

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Pakistani civil society groups boycott consultation on social media rules

Over a hundred Pakistani civil society organisations have boycotted the country’s consultation on its notified social media regulations, Dawn reported. A statement signed by over thirty organisations and twice as many individuals, including former senators, decried the Pakistani government’s “Rules that were devised in bad faith”. Read it here

OYO Rooms sued by Hyderabad-based hospitality firm for non-payment of dues

A Hyderabad-based hospitality firm, Conclave Infratech, has filed an application against OYO Rooms’ parent company Oravel Stays for non-payment of dues, the Economic Times reported. OYO Rooms allegedly breached a contract for monthly payments of nearly ₹13 lakh/month since May 2018 amounting to a total of ₹82.5 lakh. Read it here

‘No need for committee to enforce net neutrality’: Airtel to TRAI

A multi-stakeholder committee is not needed to over see net neutrality compliance in India, Airtel told TRAI in its submission. “Since Net-Neutrality principles are already a part of licensing conditions, and the DoT is fully empowered and capable of ensuring that licensees are compliant to licensing conditions, there is no need for establishing a Multi-Stakeholder body,” it said in its response to TRAI’s consultation paper. Read it here

Facebook removes network of coordinated inauthentic behaviour linked to Indian digital marketing firm aRep Global

Facebook removed a network of 37 Facebook accounts, 32 Pages, 11 Groups and 42 Instagram accounts in India in February for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour. Facebook linked this network to aRep Global, an Indian digital marketing firm. All activity originated in India and focused on the Gulf region, the US, the UK and Canada. Read it here

SpringRole verifies IDs like Aadhaar and Voter ID via WhatsApp; Privacy and legal concerns

On February 27, HR tech firm SpringRole India Pvt Ltd launched a WhatsApp-based tool that can authenticate any person’s government IDs — Aadhaar card, PAN card, voter ID and driver’s licence — by comparing them with data on government databases, using third-party APIs. Read it here

List of submissions made to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on PDP Bill 2019

A Joint Parliamentary Committee, which is currently deliberating the proposed Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, had invited comments on the Bill till February 25. The Bill is the first legislation that focuses on privacy of citizens, and could potentially result in significant overhaul of digital businesses and companies. Read it here

India needs clear net neutrality rules for network management: Barbara van Schewick, Stanford law professor

Net neutrality rules need to enforce “application agnostic” rules, that is, internet providers should not discriminate against entire classes of services, like email or streaming video, Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick wrote in her filing and countercomment to the TRAI. Read it here

With SC verdict, cryptocurrency exchanges in Indian begin to integrate bank services once again

The Supreme Court of India struck down the RBI’s banking ban against the cryptocurrencies yesterday, stating the directive as disproportionate. A three-judge bench consisting of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Justice V. Subramaniam quashed the RBI’s April 2018 circular, which restricted banks from providing services to businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies. Read it here

NITI Aayog and Competition Commission oppose floor pricing in telecom

NITI Aayog made conflicting filings to a TRAI consultation on setting a floor price on telecom data plans. One from CEO Amitabh Kant said that floor prices are “the need of the hour”; and another from Dr. Archana G. Gulati, the think tank’s Joint Secretary questioned the basis of floor pricing itself: “Setting a price floor now could prevent similar new entry riding on disruptive technology and deprive customers of benefits of competition,” Gulati said. Read it here

Maharashtra state CID website hacked to protest against violence against Muslims in Delhi

Days after a Haryana government website was hacked to protest the violence against Muslims in Delhi, Maharashtra’s Criminal Investigation Department’s website has now been hacked and defaced by hacker group Legion, accompanied by a warning to the the Indian government and police forces: “We are warning you Indian police and Modi government, stop hurting people of Muslims”. Read it here