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Daily Digest Of Tech Policy News And Updates (April 21, 2021)

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

How digital payments evolved during pandemic: PayU Report

Payment solution provider PayU published a report with information on how digital payments changed during the pandemic.

  • Streaming services saw a 144% increase in the number of transactions and a 139% increase in expenditure between 2019 and 2020.
  • Travel and hospitality saw a 86% drop in the number of transactions and expenditure.
  • Etech firms saw “a 78% increase in the number of transactions and a 44% increase in expenditure”.
  • The Northeast Indian states had a huge boost in digital transactions, from 63–93% in different states.
  • In retail and e-commerce segments there was a massive 106% increase in the number of transactions and a 124% increase in expenditure between the first and last six months of 2020.

Read: PayU’s press release


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ICYMI: NAMA Event Announcement

MediaNama invites you to apply to attend an online discussion on how the IT Rules 2021 will impact Intermediaries. Our subscribers get priority invites for our events and need not apply. Here’s the agenda and reading list. Subscribe here to support our work.

  • Date: April 23 (Friday), 2021
  • Time: 2:00 pm IST onwards

Delhi HC to rule on WhatsApp petition against CCI probe

The Delhi High Court may soon issue its ruling on WhatsApp’s petition against the Competition Commission of India’s probe into changes in the messaging giant’s privacy policy. WhatsApp has argued, among other things, that the matter is pending at the Supreme Court, that the policy changes are merely an amplification of Facebook’s existing policies, and that CCI’s investigation was improper. The CCI for its part argued that this was just an investigation and no penalty had been decided on yet.

Read: Delhi HC verdict likely on Thursday on WhatsApp, Facebook pleas against CCI order for probe (PTI)

CoWIN will track phase 3 private vaccines too

Citizens will be paying a lot more for out-of-pocket vaccinations starting May 1, but CoWIN, the government’s platform for scheduling and certifying doses, will track private sector vaccinations too. In an interview with the Economic Times, National Health Authority chair RS Sharma said, “Certain changes would be brought in the software – like different vaccines being used, which age group would the government’s vaccination drive include. Co-WIN would be scaled up.” This comes as the government leverages CoWIN to generate Unique Health IDs for people by requiring all citizens who provide Aadhaar to authenticate themselves at the time of vaccination.

Read: CoWIN to be scaled up to track every vaccine: RS Sharma (The Economic Times)

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Discord won’t be acquired by Microsoft

Discord is said to have exited negotiations to be acquired by Microsoft, according to Reuters. Discord is incredibly popular among gamers, with features like seamless audio chatting, flexible channel support, and custom emojis, among many other features normally not available on productivity messaging solutions like Microsoft Teams and Slack. The app’s developers are now reportedly looking to take the IPO route; Microsoft was supposedly in talks to buy the company for over US $10 billion.

Read: Discord ends sale talks with Microsoft, likely to pursue IPO: Sources (Reuters)

Crypto exchange Bitex to provide investment disclosure

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitex said in a press release that it would be the first cryptocurrency exchange to provide disclosures on crypto investments mandatorily as required by the government of India. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had sought full disclosure of crypto transactions and holdings by companies making it mandatory for companies to declare cryptocurrency investments. The Government has earlier also indicated that the income from cryptocurrency gains will be taxable under the Income Tax Act. The company has “commenced providing Investment Declaration Report for all its retail and institutional investors, becoming the first Exchange in India to comply with the recent amendments made to the Companies Act 2013 by Ministry of Corporate Affairs,” Bitex said.

Read: Bitex’s press release (pdf)

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