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Daily Digest Of Tech Policy News And Updates (April 14, 2021)

Bringing you quick updates on the tech space, policy making and digital rights from India and across the globe.

What awaits Disney and Star India’s new head

After Uday Shankar’s departure from Disney and Star, the company has chosen K Madhavan to succeed him. Madhavan is a Star veteran, and steadily oversaw a formidable broadcast presence for the media conglomerate in South India. Now, Madhavan’s in charge of the House of Mouse and Star’s entire India business, and is transitioning into a starkly different media environment from the one his predecessor oversaw.

For one, ad-supported television has turned out to be a fair-weather business mode, as Shankar himself bitterly admitted during the initial months of the pandemic. So the largest challenge for Madhavan will be to entice customers to pay for a bigger slice of what they watch for, as opposed to merely subsidizing it. And that too in the middle of the worst economic situations India has found itself in in decades.

And then there’s streaming. Star and Disney are as well positioned as they can be to make Disney+ Hotstar a success story — they have huge reach (millions of people are livestreaming the Indian Premier League each day this season), enticing economics with cheap subscriptions and bundling, and an aggressive third party content strategy. The challenge now will be to turn an early strategic bet into a full-fledged profitable part of the business.

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Anurag Thakur: fiat currencies don’t fluctuate like cryptos

In an interview with Times Now, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said that the government remains open to all options for regulating cryptocurrencies. Earlier, the government had said that it would ban all private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But now, Thakur seems to be qualifying that intent a little, saying that cryptocurrency investors’ interests would be taken into account.

Fiat currencies don’t fluctuate wildly like cryptocurrencies do, Thakur argued, and said that on the whole, the government supports the technology. However, the government’s bill to regulate cryptocurrencies isn’t out yet, and that will determine just how comfortable lawmakers are with allowing private trading of cryptocurrencies à la stock trading.

Read: Will ensure interests of crypto investors are protected: Anurag Thakur [Mint]

Pine Labs acquires SE Asian fintech Fave

Pine Labs, known largely for its POS devices, has announced a $45 million acquisition of Fave, a Southeast Asian fintech firm. Pine Labs indicated that it will go consumer-facing with this acquisition, with an app for deals at partnered merchants, probably leveraging locations where Pine Labs’s POS machines are already installed. Fave, meanwhile, said it would intensify hiring in its home turf with the fresh infusion of capital, and deepen its presence in those markets.

Read: Pine Labs acquires Fave in a $45-million deal [Financial Express]

DCC approves norms for outdoor testing

The Digital Communications Commission of the telecom department has reportedly approved norms for providing spectrum for outdoor testing on an experimental basis. No announcement has officially been made just yet, so the specifics are a bit hazy. However, easier availability of trial spectrum could help firms prepare use cases for 5G, perhaps in time for the technology’s adoption among Indian telecom operators.

The reported approvals follow a report submitted in 2019 by a DoT-appointed committee headed by Abhay Karandikar, who is currently the director of IIT Kanpur.

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Read: DCC approves norms to ease access to spectrum for outdoor tech testing [Economic Times]

FBI accesses computers across US to remove malware

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has apparently gone to great lengths to undo malware found on Microsoft Exchange users’ computers, and obtained a court order to remotely access affected companies’ computers to get rid of a specific malware that was reported earlier this year. “By deleting the web shells, FBI personnel will prevent malicious cyber actors from using the web shells to access the servers and install additional malware on them,” a court document filed by the FBI says. This essentially makes up for individual companies’ lethargy by giving the FBI itself access to systems to do the cleanup.

Read: FBI Accesses Computers Around Country to Delete Microsoft Exchange Hacks

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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