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Daily Digest Of Tech Policy News And Updates (May 10, 2021)

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

Bengal police pull down 500+ social media posts

The West Bengal Police have removed 500 posts deleted from social media platforms in the last 4 days. These posts were allegedly spreading fake news concerning “post-poll violence in Bengal” and “Hindu genocide in Bengal”, the Times of India reported. The police found that three videos, which were circulating on social media alleging violence by members of the re-elected Trinamool Congress, were actually from Brazil, Venezuela and Bangladesh. While the Crime Investigation Department has got Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to take down 300 posts, the state police pulled 200 posts from these platforms.

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BharatPe raises Rs 50 crore in debt from Northern Arc

Payments major BharatPe raised Rs 50 crore or $7 million in debt from Northern Arc Capital. This is the sixth debt round of funding for the company. Earlier this year, it had raised Rs 200 crore in venture debt from Alteria Capital, InnoVen Capital and Trifecta Capital, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. The company has disbursed of over Rs 1,600 crore to more than 200,000 merchants since the launch of the lending vertical and aims to disburse Rs 14,000 crore in business loans by March 2023, BharatPe said in a statement.

“At BharatPe, we are committed to bridge the credit gap for SMEs and small merchants in the country. We have considerably ramped up our lending business in the last year and have set an ambitious target of facilitating disbursals to the tune of US$ 1 bn to 10 lacs+ merchants by the end of current fiscal (FY22),” said Suhail Sameer, Group President, BharatPe.

Clubhouse launches on Android

Audio-only social media platform Clubhouse has launched its flagship app on Google’s Android Play Store. While the service is now available in the United States, the company will launch the app in other markets in the coming days and weeks. Users outside the US can pre-register for the app to get a notification once it is ready to be launched. Clubhouse will allow users to sign up on an invite-only basis to keep its growth measured, it said in a blogpost. “Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly,” it said.

Clubhouse said that its growth in the last year has been larger than expected. “This had its downsides, as the load stressed our systems—causing widespread server outages and notification failures, and surpassing the limits of our early discovery algorithms. It made us shift our focus to hiring, fixing, and company building, rather than the community meetups and product features that we normally like to focus on,” it said.

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Fuel company Colonial Pipeline suffers cyber-attack

A major fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline shut is entire network on May 08 after suffering cyber-attack caused by a ransomeware attack. The company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines, from oil refiners on the Gulf Coast to distributors in the eastern and southern areas of the US, Reuters reported. The company shut down its systems on Friday to contain the threat of the attack and has temporarily halted operations and affected some of its IT systems, the company said. It has appointed a third-party cybersecurity firm to conduct an investigation and is working with law enforcement and other federal agencies.

According to Bloomberg, the attack was perpetrated by a cyber-crime gang called DarkSide. They extracted around 100GB worth of data from Colonial’s network in just two hours on Thursday. The company was told that the data would be leaked online and that data still within their computer network would be encrypted and inaccessible, unless the ransom was paid. Colonial was threatened that the stolen data would be leaked to the internet while the information that was encrypted by the hackers on computers inside the network would remain locked unless it paid the ransom.

Amazon blocks 10 billion fake listings

Amazon has blocked over 10 billion suspected fake listing on its e-commerce platform. The spate of fake listings has increased post the pandemic as fraudsters try to take advantage of growing reliance on e-commerce platforms, the Associated Press reported. The number of fake listings that were blocked by Amazon has gone up by 67% in 2020 from 2019, the company said in it’s first report on its anti-counterfeiting efforts. The e-comemrce giant destroyed 2 million counterfeit products sent to its warehouses last year before they could be sold. Fewer than 0.01% of all items bought on the site receive counterfeit complaints, the company said. It spent more than $700 million last year on its anti-counterfeiting efforts and has 10,000 people working on this issue.

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Reports on banking, payments, fintech and crypto-curencies. Additional reporting on media regulations, data protection and other areas.

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