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MediaNama Daily: GIFT-ing startups a break from compliance stress

IFSCA sets up an expert committee, a FutureFantastic event, parliament questions on PIB’s fact-check unit, and more

🥇If There’s One Story To Read Today

IFSCA sets up committee to encourage fintech startups to GIFT City

“What if I miss just one form? I might get hurt… I have to hire a Big Four firm to help me with the compliance and that will cost me lakhs of rupees,” one startup founder recently remarked to the IT Minister when the Minister asked startups affected by the SVB crisis why they don’t bank with Indian banks.

The founder’s worry about compliance burden is valid, but it’s a fear that can be addressed if the founder worked with Indian or foreign banks located in Gujarat’s GIFT City, where compliance norms are far more relaxed and streamlined. For example, banks there are not regulated by RBI but by the International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA). 

But the problem is that not many people know about GIFT City, let alone the benefits it offers. 

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To address this problem, the IFSCA has set up an expert committee to help find out what can be done to bring Indian fintech startups domiciled abroad to back to India, to GIFT City specifically. Read this 2-minute story here

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🎙 Tomorrow’s the D-day! 

To what extent does a user need to be identified? Can user verification processes prevent scams? How can we protect our sensitive data while undergoing government verification? We will be raising and discussing these, and more such questions, at our hybrid roundtable on ‘Exploring User Verification’ at The Claridges in New Delhi on March 23, 2023. See you at the event!

Note: If you couldn’t register, look out for the video of the event in upcoming editions of this newsletter.

🗓 Your Tech Policy Agenda

  • Magazines Matter: Indian Magazine Congress 2023, organised by the Association of Indian Magazines, is happening at the Oberoi, New Delhi, on March 24. This year’s theme, “Building Engaged Communities”, focuses on the continuing relevance of magazines in bringing people together in the digital age. Our editor, Nikhil Pahwa, will be at the event if anybody wants to say hi. Register here.
  • Fighting for a better internet! A virtual fest from March 20-24, MozFest is a unique hybrid: part art, tech and society convening. MediaNama editor and founder, Nikhil Pahwa, is also a speaker at this event. Click here to know more about this and register here to attend. 
  • Exploring AI: FutureFantastic is an AI and new media arts festival in India being held at Bangalore International Centre (BIC) from March 24-26. Aarathi from MediaNama will also be a part of the panel discussion on ‘Generative AI for the 21st Century’! Click here to know more and register here to attend the event. 

🚨Today’s Top Stories


Exist Pegasus, Enter Predator: While we still haven’t unravelled the full extent to which governments around the world (including India) have misued Pegasus to spy on citizens, a new spyware has been making waves since last year. In the most recently reported case, the Predator spyware was apparently used by Greek intelligence agencies to spy on a Meta manager. Why? Neither does the manager nor do we know. But by targetting an American citizen have the hackers made a grave mistake? Also, why do spywares have such cool names? [Read 🔒, 2 minutes]


Basics are not clear yet: Whether it’s right to information requests or parliament questions, the Indian government is quick enough to dodge important or difficult questions or provide vague responses to them. At a time when the government is strengthening the powers of its press arm to “unilaterally” determine fake or false news, the concerned ministry is rather clueless about the expertise of those exercising the power to make this critical decision. Check out what the government had to reply to these queries. [Read 🔒, 3 minutes]


Setting a precedent for transparency: The latest transparency report by WazirX reveals that the exchange is taking all measures to not run afoul of the law enforcement agencies. It received more than 400 requests and complied with each and every one of them. It must be questioned whether the exchange has robust data protection measures in place to protect the privacy of its users. [Read 🔒, 3 minutes]  

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Google is entering the generative AI chatbot space with Bard, which is based on a large language model similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot. It is opening up access to “Bard” as an early experiment for users in the US and UK to collaborate with generative AI. Hehe, I might have a new name for my imaginary friend. [Read 🔒, 1 minute]

🌏 Tech Policy from Around the World

TikTok CEO: App has never shared US data with Chinese government [Read] (David Shepardson/Reuters)

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan Issues Sweeping Subpoenas to Universities Researching Disinformation [Read] (Andrea Bernstein/ProPublica)

Bitcoin Booms in Wake of Bank Crisis [Read] (Vicky Ge Huang and Caitlin Ostroff/The Wall Street Journal)

It’s ‘The iPhone Moment For AI,’ And Nvidia Is Taking Control Of It [Read] (AJ Fabino/Benzinga)

Microsoft brings OpenAI’s DALL-E image creator to the new Bing [Read] (Frederic Lardinois/Tech Crunch)

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The Scorched-Earth Tactics of Iran’s Cyber Army [Read] (Arian Khameneh/Wired)

Zuckerberg, Meta are sued for failing to address sex trafficking, child exploitation [Read] (Jonathan Stempel/Reuters)

Hackers drain bitcoin ATMs of $1.5 million by exploiting 0-day bug [Read] (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

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