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TLDR: Twitter, Flipkart, Xiaomi, Clearview AI, e-Shram, net neutrality, digital tax, facial recognition

Migrants face roadblocks in e-Shram registration process

India’s national database of unorganised workers may have seen 91 million sign-ups by November 2021 but the registration process involved suffers major snags, according to a report by the India Development Review (idr). Mandatory Aadhaar linkage, multiple phone numbers, dormant PMJDY bank accounts, and lack of clarity on who can sign up, has led to confusion among the workers trying to avail of benefits from the government.

Xiaomi probe: China urges India to treat companies fairly

Beijing has expressed concern over the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation of China-based smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi amid reports that the agency allegedly threatened the company’s top executives during questioning. “China hopes India will provide a fair, just, non-discriminatory business environment to Chinese companies with investments and operations in India, carry out investigations in compliance with the law, and enhance international investor confidence,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Flipkart pulls the plug on Smart Fulfillment

According to the Economic Times, the e-commerce platform is phasing out one of its fulfillment services that let sellers store their products at their own warehouse or place of business while still being synced with Flipkart’s systems. Why is the service being discontinued? In order to help sellers reduce their cost of doing business and improve their order processing experience, the company revealed in a note. This reportedly leaves sellers with two options: Rely only on Flipkart’s warehouses or take the reins entirely on logistics.

Clearview AI’s facial recognition database is off-limits (mostly)

The facial data of 20 billion US residents will not be sold to private companies as part of a lawsuit settlement reached by Clearview AI and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the New York Times reported. But the door is still open for government agencies to purchase access to the startup’s face database which was reportedly put together by scraping photos off of Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., without user consent.

Twitter ordered to take down five more tweets by historian

The Delhi High Court has directed Twitter to remove an additional set of tweets posted by historian Audrey Truschke in which she accused another historian, Dr. Vikram Sampath of plagiarism with respect to his biography of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, LiveLaw reported. This is the second time that the court has issued an order for takedown of Truschke’s tweets which it held as defamatory in nature.

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Biden ropes in internet providers to supply low-cost WiFi

Over 20 US internet service providers are committed to offering high-speed internet at subsidised rates for 48 million low-income households, President Joe Biden announced. “So now families who are eligible can select a plan from a participating provider and receive high-speed internet at no cost in most cases,” he said. These provisions fall under the country’s bipartisan infrastructure law, as per CNN.

UN panel developing rules to tax digital companies

A United Nations committee that looks at taxation and counts India as one of its members, is working on a set of rules that will determine how digital services like Google, Facebook, and Netflix will be taxed differently from general tax treaties involving large multinationals, Business Standard reported.

EU Digital Markets Act to go into effect next year

The European Union has pushed the rollout of its antitrust legislation, which introduces a new set of rules to curb the power of Big Tech, from October 2022 to “next spring” 2023, TechCrunch revealed in a report. Why the delay? “It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission… It’s about hiring staff. It’s about preparing the IT systems. It’s about drafting further legal texts on procedures or notification forms. Our teams are currently busy with all these preparations and we’re aiming to come forward with the new structures very soon,” European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said.

US broadband industry accepts defeat in net neutrality case

Industry associations (representing major US telcos such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast) withdrew their legal challenge against a landmark net neutrality law in California that stops internet service providers from blocking or suppressing traffic or giving an option of paid fast lanes, according to a TechStory report. What next? The industry has instead pledged to work with Congress and regulators to come up with a federal approach for settling their problems.

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