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MediaNama Daily: Data leaks right left, and centre

Whitelist turns black, SEBI’s regulations, TikTok unveils European data security plan, Microsoft Bing hits 100 million active users, and more

🥇If There’s One Story To Read Today 

A fraudster’s goldmine


Last week we pulled a stunt that could have very well backfired. We downloaded a leaked database allegedly belonging to HDFC Bank from a hacker forum! Not the smartest thing to do, we admit, but turns out the data was legit.

Despite HDFC Bank categorically denying any data leak, we found lakhs and lakhs of personal data (names, emails, addresses, phone numbers, etc) of EMI applicants, and we were able to verify the authenticity of some of this data by cross-verifying details with the shops that actually processed the EMI applications. We also learnt that the leaked database belonged to HDB Financial Services, a subsidiary of HDFC Bank.

We, once again, reached out to HDFC with our findings and asked them for an updated statement. This time, HDB Financial Services got back to us confirming that one of its service providers suffered from a breach.

For more on what all data has been leaked, how we verified some of it, and how this can lead to frauds, read our 4-minute story here

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🚨Today’s Top Stories


Whitelist turns black: The upcoming data protection bill could shift from a whitelist to blacklist approach, allowing personal data transfers to all countries except to the ones in a blacklist. It might appear to be small change in approach but is actually a big win for businesses, who have successfully managed to get the relaxation they’ve always wanted. [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]

SEBI  🤝 RBI  🤝 data localization: Well, just because the data protection bill might become lenient on cross-border data transfers, doesn’t mean you are safe. India’s stock market regulator SEBI joins RBI in mandating data localization for all entities regulated by it. Remember when Mastercard and Amex were barred from issuing cards in India, now we have to wait and see who suffers from the wrath of SEBI’s regulation. [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]


Back to square one: The Tamil Nadu governor thinks the state government lacks the “legislative competence” to ban online gambling. So, he sent a law trying to do just that back to the government. Amidst these delays to regulate the sector, gambling-related suicides in Tamil Nadu are on the rise. We track the pitfalls of the law—and the consequences of not having one—here. [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]


To ban or not to ban? The US government has been dealing with questions concerning TikTok for almost three years now. While the Donald Trump administration was pretty clear about banning the Chinese app, the efforts were thwarted amid little clarity over how exactly the video-making app is threatening national security. Whether or not the app will be banned, the White House has supported a bipartisan bill to allow it the powers to do so if needed. [Read 🔒, 3 minutes]


Lost your SIM? Want a duplicate? Well, if you haven’t updated your photo with your telecom service provider, good luck! Didn’t you hear about the Delhi resident who couldn’t get a replacement SIM because the photo she provided did not match the photo provided when the SIM was first registered 15 years ago. What’s a girl gotta do to get over these facial recognition issues? [Read 🔒, 3 minutes

🌏 Tech Policy from Around the World

Google’s Plan to Catch ChatGPT Is to Stuff AI Into Everything [Read] (Julia Love and Davey Alba/Bloomberg)

Darktrace warns of rise in AI-enhanced scams since ChatGPT release [Read] (Mark Sweney/The Guardian)

Chinese genomics company accused of hack attempts by UK minister [Read] (Jim Pickard and Yuan Yang/Financial Times)

Problems on TikTok as Users Struggle to Load Videos [Read] (THE PRESS ASSOCIATION/Bloomberg)

Microsoft Bing hits 100 million active users in bid to grab share from Google [Read] (Tom Warren/The Verge)

TikTok unveils European data security plan amid calls for US ban [Read] (Dan Milmo/The Guardian)

Google’s cloud gaming ambitions died with Stadia, exec reveals [Read] (Sean Hollister/The Verge)

Chinese AI groups use cloud services to evade US chip export controls [Read] (Eleanor Olcott, Qianer Liu, Demetri Sevastopulo/Financial Times)

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