🥇If There’s One Story To Read Today
Only chance and no stakes? Not gambling, then!
The Reserve Bank of India: If it looks like a gambling game, then it probably is a gambling game.
The Bombay High Court: No.
For legal purposes that was a joke. But, that’s pretty much what went down at the Bombay High Court last week. Here’s why.
The central bank was sitting on Play Games 24×7’s foreign exchange compliance obligations because it offered games like teen patti and ‘Call it Right’—these illegal “betting and gambling” games violate India’s foreign exchange laws.
Play Games 24×7 begged to differ. After all, their versions of these games don’t involve any monetary reward. How can they be gambling games then?
The Court agreed, saying “the mere fact that there is a game of chance on the website does not in itself make the activity gambling unless there is an accompanying reward or promise of a reward”. What we want to know: does that reading conflict with the Indian government’s latest definition for online gaming? [Read, 4 minutes]
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🗓 Your Tech Policy Agenda
- Digitizing banking and finance: The 2nd Annual BFSI Digital Advancement Summit 2023 is a two-day summit that will dive into how financial services like banking, insurance, and fintech’s interplay with the increasing digitization and tech push in the country, and how the sector is getting impacted. It is a two-day summit from 14 – 15 February 2023. Find all the event details and registration here
- Electoral inclusion through tech: India has a major problem of internal migrants essentially being disenfranchised due to being away from their ‘home’ constituency. ‘Remote voting’ has been put forward by the Election Commission as a tech-based solution to this. What might be the issues involved? The Centre for Policy Research has a workshop on this in-person and through Zoom. Register and attend on January 25, 2023.
- A conference on innovation: The International Conference on Intelligent and Innovative Technologies in Computing, Electrical and Electronics (ICIITCEE 2023) is being organized and hosted by BNM Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, India on 27 and 28 January 2023.The conference is focussed on bringing together stakeholders and industry players to share developments in the field of Computing, Electrical and Electronics. Visit here for everything you need to know.
🚨Today’s Top Stories
PRIVACY AND DATA GOVERNANCE
Consent matters, says UIDAI: The vulnerabilities of Aadhaar holders in India has been deepening with no immediate redressal for their pains. It’s been a long-discussed story that the implementation of India’s grand unique ID project is tremendously flawed w.r.t to privacy and security. In an attempt to sort of fight the lost case, the Aadhaar authority has been releasing guidelines one after another. Here’s the latest one. [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
PLATFORM REGULATION AND GOVERNANCE
India junks S66A from UN proposal: Small win for Indian citizens as the Indian government submits a new cybercrime proposal to the UN Committee removing Section 66A-like provisions that stifled free speech. Did the government do this in lieu of the vehement opposition at the international level or domestically? With no explanation available, we can only guess. [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
GIG AND AGGREGATOR ECONOMY
Zomato abandons 10 minute-deliveries: It seems like the economic downturn has caught up with Zomato after a report claimed that Zomato Instant, its 10-minute delivery, has been shut down due to low profitability. The company denied that the service had been shut and was rebranded. However, it seems like clever wordplay. [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
REAL MONEY GAMING AND GAMBLING
At least listen to one of your own: The Law Ministry’s advisory body, the 22nd Law Commission of India urged the IT Ministry to put the gaming rules on hold, but the Ministry told the Commission that it won’t and asked the Commission to submit its feedback like everyone else. The earlier Law Commission, in fact, came up with a comprehensive report on the subject, but the government doesn’t seem to have incorporated those recommendations in the proposed rules. What even is the point of the Law Commission if the government is not willing to heed its advice? [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
Are you even listening?: GST authorities went after online gaming company MyTeam11 for its alleged betting and gambling activities. The Rajasthan High Court wasn’t amused. Various courts have already held that fantasy sports, rummy, and others are skill-based games—or involve no gambling. A spicy nugget from the order: “When the matter is so settled by various Courts, the issuance of the (..) show cause notice [by the GST authorities] is nothing but an abuse of the process of law.” [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION, CENSORSHIP
An unpleasant foreshadowing: After the Editors Guild and DIGIPUB, yet another news industry body, the NBDA, has called for the withdrawal of the fact-check amendment. And based on the recent lengths that the government has gone to block the BBC documentary on Modi, it is worrisome what powers they will have with the proposed amendment. All they have to do in the future is ask PIB to fact-check the documentary as “false” and all platforms will have to scramble to remove it. [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
RBI doesn’t like rule-breakers: The Reserve Bank of India has directed the State Bank of Mauritius (India) to stop certain remittance-related transactions until further notice. Source-based reports suggest that it may have something to do with fintech firms’ money transfer practices. With popular fintech firms such as INDMoney as partners, SBM should be working on a quick solution. And until then, these remittance services stay suspended. [Read, 🔒 2 minutes]
🌏 Tech Policy from Around the World
A Major App Flaw Exposed the Data of Millions of Indian Students [Read] (Vittoria Elliot, Dhruv Mehrotra/ Wired)
Supreme Court puts off showdown over internet moderation bans in Texas and Florida [Read] (Adi Robertson/ The Verge)
The third-party apps Twitter just killed made the site what it is today [Read] (Mitchell Clark/ The Verge)
Amazon launches RxPass, a $5/month Prime add-on for all-you-need generic drugs covering 80 conditions [Read] (Ingrid Lunden/ Tech Crunch)
Delhi HC notifies rules for live streaming and recording of court proceedings [Read] (Express News Service/ The Indian Express)
First AI-powered “robot” lawyer will represent defendant in court next month [Read] (CBS News)
How AI Can Tackle Fake News and Bias to Create Authentic Experiences? [Read] (Swathi Kashettar/ Analytics Insight)
World of Warcraft to go offline in China, leaving millions of gamers bereft [Read] (Agence France-Presse/ The Guardian)
EU Lawmakers Impose ‘Prohibitive’ Requirements on Banks’ Crypto [Read] (Jack Schickler/ Coindesk)
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