Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'india'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Site Related
    • News & Updates
    • Site / Forum Feedback
    • Member Introduction
  • News
    • General News
    • FileSharing News
    • Mobile News
    • Software News
    • Security & Privacy News
    • Technology News
  • Downloads
    • nsane.down
  • General Discussions & Support
    • Filesharing Chat
    • Security & Privacy Center
    • Software Chat
    • Mobile Mania
    • Technology Talk
    • Entertainment Exchange
    • Guides & Tutorials
  • Off-Topic Chat
    • The Chat Bar
    • Jokes & Funny Stuff
    • Polling Station

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...

Found 62 results

  1. India’s Reliance Jio, which has disrupted the local telecom and features phone markets in less than three years of existence, is ready to foray into many more businesses. In a series of announcements Monday, which included a long-term partnership with global giant Microsoft, Reliance Jio said it will commercially roll out its broadband service next month; an IoT platform with ambitions to power more than a billion devices on January 1 next year; and “one of the world’s biggest blockchain networks” in the next 12 months — all while also scaling its retail and commerce businesses. The broadband service, called Jio Fiber, is aimed at individual customers, small and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries and Asia’s richest man, said at a shareholders’ meeting today. The service, which is being initially targeted at 20 million homes and 15 million businesses in 1,600 towns, will start rolling out commercially starting September 5. Ambani said more than half a million customers have already been testing the broadband service, which was first unveiled last year. The broadband service will come bundled with access to hundreds of TV channels and free calls across India and at discounted rates to the U.S. and Canada, Ambani said. The service, the cheapest tier of which will offer internet speeds of 100Mbps, will be priced at Rs 700 (~$10) a month. The company said it will offer various plans to meet a variety of needs, including those of customers who want access to gigabit internet speeds. Continuing its tradition to woo users with significant “free stuff,” Jio, which is a subsidiary of India’s largest industrial house (Reliance Industries) said customers who opt for the yearly plan of its fiber broadband will be provided with the set-top box and an HD or 4K TV at no extra charge. Specific details weren’t immediately available. A premium tier, which will be available starting next year, will allow customers to watch many movies on the day of their public release. The broadband service will bundle games from many popular studios, including Microsoft Game Studios, Riot Games, Tencent Games and Gameloft, Jio said. Partnership with Microsoft The company also announced a 10-year partnership with Microsoft to launch new cloud data centers in India to ensure “more of Jio’s customers can access the tools and platforms they need to build their own digital capability,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a video appearance Monday. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about the company’s partnership with Reliance Jio “At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Core to this mission is deep partnerships, like the one we are announcing today with Reliance Jio. Our ambition is to help millions of organizations across India thrive and grow in the era of rapid technological change.” “Together, we will offer a comprehensive technology solution, from compute to storage, to connectivity and productivity for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere in the country,” he added. As part of the partnership, Nadella said, Jio and Microsoft will jointly offer Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft AI platforms to more organizations in India, and also bring Azure Cognitive Services to more devices and in 13 Indian languages to businesses in the country. The solutions will be “accessible” to reach as many people and organizations in India as possible, he added. The cloud services will be offered to businesses for as little as Rs 1,500 ($21) per month. The first two data centers will be set up in Gujarat and Maharashtra by next year. Jio will migrate all of its non-networking apps to the Microsoft Azure platform and promote its adoption among its ecosystem of startups, the two said in a joint statement. The foray into broadband business and push to court small enterprises come as Reliance Industries, which dominates the telecom and retail spaces in India, attempts to diversify from its marquee oil and gas business. Reliance Jio, the nation’s top telecom operator, has amassed more than 340 million subscribers in less than three years of its commercial operations. At the meeting, Ambani also unveiled that Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil producer Aramco was buying a 20% stake in $75 billion worth Reliance Industries’ oil-to-chemicals business. Like other Silicon Valley companies, Microsoft sees massive potential in India, where tens of millions of users and businesses have come online for the first time in recent years. Cloud services in India are estimated to generate a revenue of $2.4 billion this year, up about 25% from last year, according to research firm Gartner. Microsoft has won several major clients in India in recent years, including insurance giant ICICI Lombard. Today’s partnership could significantly boost Microsoft’s footprint in India, posing a bigger headache for Amazon and Google. Ambani also said Reliance Retail, the nation’s largest retailer, is working on a “digital stack” to create a new commerce partnership platform in India to reach tens of millions of merchants, consumers and producers. Ambani said Reliance Industries plans to list both Reliance Retail and Jio publicly in the next years. “We have received strong interests from strategic and financial investors in our consumer businesses — Jio and Reliance Retail. We will induct leading global partners in these businesses in the next few quarters and move towards listing of both these companies within the next five years,” he said. The announcement comes weeks after Reliance Industries acquired for $42.3 million a majority stake in Fynd, a Mumbai-based startup that connects brick and mortar retailers with online stores and consumers. Reliance Industries has previously stated plans to launch a new e-commerce firm in the country. Without revealing specific details, Ambani also said that Jio is building an IoT platform to control at least one billion of the two billion IoT devices in India by next year. He said he sees IoT as a $2.8 billion revenue opportunity for Jio. Similarly, the company also plans to expand its blockchain network across India, he said. “Using blockchain, we can deliver unprecedented security, trust, automation and efficiency to almost any type of transaction. And using blockchain, we also have an opportunity to invent a brand-new model for data privacy where Indian data, especially customer data is owned and controlled through technology by the Indian people an d not by corporate, especially global corporations,” he added. Source
  2. WhatsApp is “a space for private conversations online.” An Indian court could make it public. WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging service that has built a 400 million strong user base in India, is squaring off in a Tamil Nadu courthouse in a case that could force the company to weaken its privacy protections. The Madras high court recently began hearing a case filed by two petitioners asking the country to force people to link their WhatsApp accounts to their Aadhaar, India’s controversial biometric ID number for nearly all of the country’s 1.4 billion residents. The two petitioners, Antony Clement Rubin and Janani Krishnamurthy, are private citizens. In copies of their legal filings reviewed by BuzzFeed News, they describe themselves as animal welfare activists, and say that they'd like the court to mandate users to link "any email or user account" to their Aadhaar numbers or any other form of identification, "owing to the rising instances of humiliation, disgrace and defamation [through] cyber bullying and other intolerable activities on social media." Rubin, who filed the petition after being bullied on Facebook in 2018, told BuzzFeed News that he only did so to help law enforcement agencies track down people who indulged in abusive behavior online. "To be honest, my only concern when I filed the petition was that the platforms should be a safe environment for everyone," he said. "That said, I do acknowledge that in a case like this, there's a double-edge sword when it comes to people's privacy." Rubin also denied having links to the government and said he had filed the petition in his personal capacity. Krishnamurthy did not respond to requests for comment. The case — the first in the country to consider traceability in social media — could set legal precedent for all tech companies operating in India. Privacy experts fear the case is a convenient opportunity for India’s nationalist government to force platforms to become surveillance tools. “If the court directs a product change like breaking or weakening WhatsApp’s encryption, it won’t be limited to just WhatsApp but will extend to pretty much every single product and service that uses encryption in India,” Apar Gupta, director of the digital advocacy organization Internet Freedom Foundation, told BuzzFeed News. The IFF is an intervener — a third party that can join a case without the permission of the original litigants — in Rubin and Krishnamurthy’s petition. “Once you can trace a message, you can use it for methods of social control,” said Gupta. “That’s the primary objective of this.” A WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment on the ongoing case, but pointed BuzzFeed News to a statement issued in February that described WhatsApp as “a space for private conversations online.” “Imagine if every message that you sent was kept with a record of the fact that you sent it and with a record of your phone number,” it said. “That would not be a place for private communications.” After lynch mobs fueled by misinformation about child abductors spread on untraceable WhatsApp messages killed more than 45 people across India in 2018, the government has been cracking down on the Facebook-owned app. Since then, the Indian government has repeatedly asked the company to develop a way to identify senders of messages. WhatsApp has turned down the request each time. As it rebuffs those demands, WhatsApp has fought the spread of rumors in other ways, such as limiting the number of people or groups users can forward messages to and clearly labeling forwards. It ran advertising campaigns on television, newspapers, and radio warning against the dangers of misinformation. And the company is hiring a national law enforcement liaison — one of the government’s key demands. Nevertheless, the government remains focused on personal traceability. In October, it demanded the locations and phone numbers of people using WhatsApp for real-world violence, and in December, it proposed changes to the country’s IT law that would force platforms including WhatsApp to break their user encryption. Last month, it asked the company to digitally fingerprint every message to track the sender. “Traceability shall be [WhatsApp’s] job,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s IT minister, last week. WhatsApp is taking these developments seriously, flying out its top legal counsel, Brian Hennessy, to the hearing from its California headquarters. The company hired Arvind Datar and India’s former law minister Kapil Sibal, two of India’s highest-profile (and most expensive) lawyers to make its case before the judges. Their arguments against traceability in the high court were blunt. “Requiring WhatsApp to trace originator information is disproportionate to the laudable aim of preventing and detecting crimes, particularly since users can easily migrate to encrypted platforms that do not have such an obligation,” WhatsApp stated in a 27-page submission to the court reviewed by BuzzFeed News. The company also stated that WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption promoted citizens’ fundamental rights and enabled journalists, civil society organizations, members of ethnic and religious groups, activists, and artists to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression “without fear of surveillance or retaliation.” “Imposing a traceability requirement would undermine all of these benefits,” WhatsApp said in the submission. “Journalists could be at risk of retaliation for investigating issues that may be unpopular, civil or political activists could be at risk of retaliation for discussing certain right and criticizing or advocating for politicians or political, and personal information like sexual orientation, health, religious affiliation, Aadhaar, and financial information could be at risk of becoming publicly exposed.” Representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter, each of which have millions of users in India, also attended the hearing. Facebook did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. A Google spokesperson said that the company could not comment on the case as it was still in court. “The outcome of this litigation could lead to a change in the product design of major social media platforms because law enforcement agencies want the [court] to direct these companies to devise a mechanism to trace the originator of a message,” the IFF wrote on its website. In July, V. Kamakoti, a professor at the Indian Indian of Technology Madras and a member of the country’s National Security Advisory Board, a body that advises the prime minister on national security matters demanded that WhatsApp attach the original sender's phone number to every forwarded message. Kamakoti’s proposal, which is part of the Indian government’s report submitted to the court, said that WhatsApp could attach the original sender’s phone number to every message, which wouldn’t require it to break encryption but would allow law enforcement agencies to track down the sender if they wished to. Kamakoti did not respond to multiple interview requests from BuzzFeed News. According to sources familiar with the matter, members of WhatsApp’s legal and policy teams from its California headquarters met Kamakoti along with law enforcement agencies in Tamil Nadu in May. The purpose was to discuss how all tech platforms — not just WhatsApp — work with law enforcement in the state of Tamil Nadu. There was no resolution at the end of this meeting, a source said. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 21. Countries around the world are calling for tech platforms to break their encryption or build backdoors into their products — ostensibly in service of law enforcement. On the same day that WhatsApp was making its case in the Madras high court, United States Attorney General William Barr demanded that tech firms put backdoors into their encrypted products because encryption “seriously degrades” law enforcement’s ability to “detect and prevent a crime before it occurs,” and makes prosecution more difficult. Earlier this week, intelligence agencies from the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand demanded special access to messages flowing through WhatsApp and other encrypted services. But a judicial requirement to let law enforcement agencies access encrypted WhatsApp messages would hit Indians particularly hard, critics say, especially with the rise of Modi, whose five-year reign has polarized the country along religious lines. “Free expression itself is regularly undermined in the political space in India at present especially for people who use social media,” said Gupta of the IFF. “A lot of people’s conversations on the internet are about politics and criticizing politicians. Tracking down their identities would result in a great chilling effect. There will be fear in their minds.” Source
  3. India has labeled hyperloop a public infrastructure project — here’s why that matters Hyperloop, the futuristic and still theoretical transportation system that could someday propel people and packages at speeds of more than 600 miles per hour, has been designated a “public infrastructure project” by India lawmakers in the state of Maharashtra. Wrapped in that government jargon is a valuable and notable outcome. The upshot: hyperloop is being treated like any other public infrastructure project such as bridges, roads and railways. In other words, hyperloop has been plucked out of niche, futuristic obscurity and given a government stamp of approval. That’s remarkable, considering that the idea for hyperloop was first proposed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a nearly 60-page public white paper just five years ago. It also kicks off a process that could bring hyperloop to a 93-mile stretch of India between the cities of Mumbai and Pune. The Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority will begin the procurement process in mid-August when it starts accepting proposals from companies hoping to land the hyperloop contract. The frontrunner is likely Virgin Hyperloop One -DP World, a consortium between the hyperloop company and its biggest backer that pitched the original project to India. The MahaIDEA Committee earlier approved Virgin Hyperloop One-DP World Consortium as the Original Project Proponent. Under the VHO-DPW proposal, a hyperloop capable of transporting 200 million people every year would be built between Pune and Mumbai. That stretch of road now takes more than three hours by car; VHO says its hyperloop would reduce it to a 35-minute trip. “This is history in the making. The race is on to host the first hyperloop transportation system in the world, and today’s announcement puts India firmly in the lead. This is a significant milestone and the first of many important steps toward bringing hyperloop to the masses,” Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder said in a statement Wednesday. The hope is that India’s government will award the contract by the end of 2019, a VHO executive told TechCrunch. If that occurs, Phase 1 of the project — an 11.8 kilometer (or 7.3 mile) section — would begin in 2020. The cost of building Phase 1 will be covered by DP World, which has committed $500 million to this section. The government is covering the cost and logistics of acquiring the land for the hyperloop. Phase 1 will initially act as a certification track, which will be used to certify the hyperloop technology for passenger operations. VHO wants this certification track built and operating by 2024. If this section meets safety standards it will become part of the larger hyperloop line between Pune and Mumbai. There is a lot of work to do, and technical milestones to meet, before hyperloop is whisking people in pods through a tunnel. But if it works and is built, the region’s economy could be transformed, supporters insist. Once commercialized, the hyperloop will transform the Pune-Mumbai corridor into a mega-economic region, according to Harj Dhaliwal, managing director of India and Middle East at Virgin Hyperloop One. Today, some 75 million people travel between Pune and Mumbai each year, and forecasts suggest that number could rise to 130 million annually by 2026. The VHO-DPW consortium says its hyperloop will have the capacity to handle 16,000 passengers day, or about 200 million people annually. Image Credits: Virgin Hyperloop Source: India has labeled hyperloop a public infrastructure project — here’s why that matters
  4. New Delhi: After the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) completed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion earlier this month, a top executive from the iconic software company with an open source development model has said that it was a "match made in heaven" that will help it accelerate growth globally, including in India. In India, Red Hat, which specialises in Linux operating systems, has engineering facilities in Pune and Bengaluru. "We do think that there is an opportunity to accelerate growth (after the acquisition) -- not just in the India market, but also in the broader market. But it does exist for sure in India. I think we have an opportunity to scale much more quickly," John Allessio, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Services, Red Hat Inc, told IANS in a freewheeling chat here. The acquisition by Big Blue won't change Red Hat's "mission", nor will it curtail its contribution to the open source community, Allessio stressed. Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered Red Hat reported $3.4 billion in revenue in the 2019 financial year -- up 15 per cent year-on-year. "Red Hat has experienced 69 quarters of continuous growth which means every quarter you are hiring people across the word and that is going to continue for sure," Allessio said. "After the acquisition, we are still an independent software company. What changed is that instead of having an external shareholder, we now have an internal shareholder," he explained. Founded in 1993, Red Hat is credited for bringing open source -- including technologies like Linux, Kubernetes, Ansible, Java and Ceph, among others -- into the mainstream for the enterprises. Today, Red Hat products and services are widely used by government agencies as well as emerging companies in technology, finance, healthcare, civil aviation and other industries. Armonk, New York-headquartered IBM particularly hopes that Red Hat's open hybrid Cloud technologies would help it position itself as a leading hybrid Cloud provider. "At the core of what we do is turning projects in the open source communities into products because at the end of the day, our customer is an enterprise software customer," Allessio said. IBM also participates in open source communities, but it does not "productise" the open source projects. Instead, it develops its own proprietary products. "I think it is an opportunity for IBM to learn this DNA of Red Hat -- how do we do it -- and decide -- they have not yet decided -- if this applies to the IBM software development process. IBM has already stated that they are very much interested in our services division," Allessio added. What has fundamentally changed after the acquisition is that IBM is no longer just a business partner for Red Hat, it is now a strategic business partner. "From a go to market to operations, development and support, IBM does not help Red Hat. They help us by being a new strategic business partner," he said, adding that Red Hat will continue to operate with its other business partners. Source
  5. India has launched an ambitious mission to the Moon "Today is a historical day for space and science and technology in India." Enlarge / India's GSLV Mark III rocket is seen on the launch pad with its lunar payload. ISRO On Monday, an Indian rocket launched a spacecraft bound for the Moon from Sriharikota, a barrier island off the Bay of Bengal coast. This Chandrayaan-2 mission is the second spacecraft India has sent to the Moon, and it represents a significant effort to explore the lunar surface and its potential as a source for water ice. The GSLV Mark III rocket lifted off Monday after an eight-day delay due to a technical issue, and the launch proceeded normally. "Today is a historical day for space and science and technology in India," K. Sivan, chair of the Indian Space Research Organization, said after the launch. "I'm extremely happy to announce that GSLV Mark III successfully injected Chandrayaan-2 into the defined orbit." Although this is India's most powerful rocket, the GSLV vehicle only has a little more than one-third the lift capacity of a Falcon 9 rocket, so the 3.85-ton payload must follow a circuitous path through space in order to gain enough energy to reach, and then settle into lunar orbit. It is due to reach orbit around the Moon in September. After that point, on Sept. 7, the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover will separate from the orbiter and descend to the surface of the Moon, targeting a region near 70 degrees south on the lunar surface. In doing so, India will attempt to become just the fourth country—after the United States, Russia, and China—to successfully softly land a spacecraft on the Moon's surface. In addition to a small rover, the Indian lander will carry 14 scientific payloads. The primary goal is to assess the lunar environment and attempt to map potential deposits of water ice on the Moon. The mission is scheduled to last about 14 Earth days, the length of a lunar day when sunlight is available. The orbiter will remain in operation for a year. Previously, India flew the Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon in 2008. This consisted of a lunar orbiter and an impactor that helped confirm the existence of water ice on the Moon. That discovery helped kick off something of a global race back to the Moon, in which India, China, and the United States have all developed and begun to fly missions to assess the amount and availability of this water for a variety of purposes, including the production of rocket fuel by breaking the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Source: India has launched an ambitious mission to the Moon (Ars Technica)
  6. Apple has stopped selling the ‘lower priced’ smartphones iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus and 6s Plus in India. Apple has taken four of its ‘lower priced’ smartphones off the shelves in India, making it more expensive to buy an entry-level iPhone. As part of its new strategy to focus on driving value in India instead of chasing volumes, Apple has stopped selling the iPhone SE, 6, 6Plus and 6sPlus, three senior industry executives said. This will increase the entry level price of an iPhone in India by almost Rs 8,000. The executives said supplies of these models stopped last month. Apple’s distributors and sales team have informed traders that the new entry model will be the iPhone 6s, as and when the existing stock of the earlier models gets sold. The iPhone 6s currently sells for about Rs 29,500, while the iPhone SE, the earlier entry model, used to sell for Rs 21,000-22,000. The four models are out of stock on Amazon India, while on Flipkart, the iPhone SE and 6Plus are out of stock and not all variants of the other two models are available. All four models continue to be listed as available in the US, according to Apple’s website. The decision was taken after Apple improved its revenue and profit in India in 2018-19, even though iPhone sales volumes took a hit, with the focus more on pushing the latest and higher-priced models. An industry executive said Apple India’s sales in the April-June quarter had gone up after it undertook apromotion to drop iPhone XR prices. Apple is yet to file its India financials for FY19 with the Registrar of Companies. In FY18, Apple India’s revenue increased 12% to Rs 13,097 crore while net profit more than doubled to Rs 896 crore, as per RoC disclosures. Cupertino, California-based Apple reduced the number of distributors in India to two from five last year and decided to rein in arbitrary discounts to reinforce the brand’s premium. “Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit,” said one leading trade partner of Apple. “These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue.” Apple India declined to comment on the matter. Apple used to assemble the iPhone SE in India along with the 6s and 7. The idle capacity may now be used to expand production of other models, one executive said. Another executive said Apple has certainly not given up on the potential of the Indian market and will continue to roll out affordability programmes like buy-back and cashback offers. The company will localise its upcoming iPhone operating system iOS 13 for the first time for Indian consumers, with support for 22 Indian languages, maps for navigation and virtual assistant Siri, which can now talk and understand Indian English. “These initiatives highlight how Apple still considers India an important market for business. Just that the priority has changed from just selling a box to improving overall-sales experience, brand positioning and financials,” he said. Analysts estimated that iPhone shipments fell in India last year and continue to plunge this year. The company, however, has expanded its iPhone assembling operations in the country and soon plans to start offering the newer and super-premium models too. Source
  7. India proposes tax benefits for electric vehicles to promote sales FILE PHOTO: Mahindra showcases its new electric vehicle, ATOM, at the India Auto Show in Greater Noida, India February 7, 2018. Picture taken February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Saumya Khandelwal/File Photo MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India proposed tax waivers on Friday on the purchase of electric vehicles and removed import taxes on some auto components to help boost sales and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. India, the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is home to 14 of the world’s most polluted cities, including the capital New Delhi, with its toxic air claiming more than one million lives in 2017. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting the federal budget to parliament, said buyers of electric vehicles will receive an income tax deduction of 150,000 rupees ($2,189.30) on interest paid on loans taken out to them. She added that the government will also withdraw import tariffs on some parts used to make electric vehicles. “Considering our large consumer base, we aim to leapfrog and envision India as a global hub of manufacturing of electric vehicles,” she said in the budget speech. While India wants electric vehicles to account for 30% of all passenger vehicle sales in India by 2030, electric cars account for less than 1% of new vehicle sales due to a lack of charging infrastructure and the high cost of batteries. Sitharaman said the government has already proposed reducing a national goods and services tax (GST) from 12% to 5% to encourage sales. The plan is to have “mega-manufacturing plants” to make lithium storage batteries and solar electric charging infrastructure. “The government clearly wants to create an entire ecosystem for e-mobility in the country,” said Puneet Gupta, associate director at IHS Markit. As part of its program to cut pollution in its bustling cities, the Finance Minister also announced that it would shut down old and inefficient power plants and look for ways to increase the use of natural gas-based power. Source: India proposes tax benefits for electric vehicles to promote sales
  8. India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27% year-on-year. Image: REUTERS/Amit Dave A short time ago, solar power was considered a marginal power source. But it is now one of the major drivers behind the transition to greener, more sustainable sustainable energy. Around the globe, prices are falling and India is now producing the world's cheapest solar power, according to an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) survey. The costs of building large-scale solar installations in India fell by 27% in 2018, year-on-year, thanks to a combination of low-priced panel imports from China, abundant land and cheap labour. Image: IRENA Average solar prices from large-scale installations in India were less than a third of Canada’s, where costs were highest of the countries surveyed. More than half of the total costs of building a solar installation in India relate to hardware, like racking and mounting, while the remainder involves soft costs such as system design and financing. Lower service and labour outlay have contributed to a dramatic fall in the investment needed to set up large-scale solar power-generating projects. Between 2010 and 2018, setup costs in India fell by 80%, the most precipitous decline of any country. Back to nature As prices come down, demand goes up. The expanding global solar sector now accounts for 55% of all new renewable power-generating capacity. Last year, 94 gigawatts of new capacity came online, largely added by Asian countries. China was responsible for 44 gigawatts of all new solar capacity, almost five-times more than India, which followed directly behind. Other rapidly expanding markets include the US, Japan, Australia and Germany. Alongside the rise of solar, other clean energy sources like wind farms and hydropower are also growing. Renewable energy now generates a third of global power capacity. “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the technology of choice for new power generation capacity,” said Adnan Amin, former director general of IRENA. “The strong growth in 2018 continues the remarkable trend of the last five years, which reflects an ongoing shift towards renewable power as the driver of global energy transformation.” A powerful incentive As markets shift to cleaner energy sources, non-renewables – such as fossil fuels and nuclear power – have seen a steady decline throughout Europe, North America and Oceania. But countries in Asia and the Middle East are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, where oil- and gas-generating capacity is on the rise. The IRENA report sees falling renewable technology costs as key to future energy decarbonisation, noting it will ultimately be cheaper to build and operate solar and wind farms than to run existing coal-fired power plants. Onshore wind and solar power are quickly becoming less expensive than coal and oil, which could provide a powerful incentive for fossil fuel-dependent countries to switch to more sustainable energy sources. Source: India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power (World Economic Forum)
  9. Recently, India’s first open-source Shakti processor was announced, which has been funded by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Now, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has released the software development kit (SDK) for the processor. The institute has also promised that the development board will soon be released. The RISE group at IIT Madras had started working on the Shakti project in the year 2016 with a plan to release a family of six classes of processors, each serving a different market. Also, the group has promised that the reference processors will be competitive with commercial offerings in terms of area, performance and power consumption. The six classes of processors include E-Class, C-Class, I-Class, M-Class, S-Class, and H-Class. The E class is a 3-stage in-order processor targeted at embedded devices such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, robotic platforms, motor controls, et cetera. The C class is a 32-bit 5 stage in-order microcontroller-class of processors supporting 0.2-1 GHz clock speeds. It’s aimed at mid-range application workloads and has a very low power profile, along with optional memory protection. On the other hand, the I class 64-bit out-of-order processors support 1.5-2.5 GHz clock speeds and support for multi-threading. It targets mobile, storage and networking applications. As for the M class processor, the M stands for multi-core and supports up to eight CPU cores. The S class processors are aimed at the workstation and server-type workloads. It’s an enhanced version of the I class processor that features multi-threading support. The H class processor is for the high-performance computing and analytics workloads. Its primary features include high single-thread performance, optional L4 cache, as well as support for Gen-Z fabric and storage-class memory. As per the reports, the RISE group is also working on two new experimental classes of processors — T-class and F-class. More Info at: [ Gitlab ] Source
  10. Most people would probably agree that YouTube comments are generally pretty worthless (especially the ones that tell you the year the commenter last watched a particular music video). In fact, the video streaming site is widely known for having some of the vilest comments on the internet. So now, after all these years, it seems Google may be finally coming around to this realization and is looking to change things up with a test in India that hides YouTube comments by default. This YouTube trial was first detailed by XDA Developers and only seems to affect the YouTube app on Android for now, and it couldn’t be more straightforward. Normally, when you open a video in YouTube and start scrolling down, you’ll see a row of buttons for liking, disliking, and sharing a video among other tools, followed by a list of suggested videos, and then finally after scrolling down even further, the comments for that video. But in YouTube’s new test in India, Google has simply removed the comment section below the list of suggested videos and replaced it with a comment button that sits between the Dislike and Share buttons, so that users won’t see any comments unless they go out of their way and tap the Comment button. To make room for the new Comment button, YouTube is testing a layout that removes the Save For Later button, which could be annoying for some, but not a complete loss as that functionality has apparently been moved to the drop-down window you get when you click the arrow to see a video’s full description. (XDA Developers has screenshots if you want to get a visual of the change.) YouTube did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. While it’s easy to vilify all YouTube comments as garbage, there’s also a lot of useful info or heartwarming anecdotes shared in comments as well, so it’s nice to see that YouTube isn’t quite ready to abolish comments entirely. (Here’s a shout out to all the commenters that take the time to list out all the tracks in long DJ sets.) And just maybe, by making the process of reading and posting comments a more deliberate affair, YouTube might actually encourage more thoughtful discourse. Big maybe. Source
  11. NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will examine concerns raised by foreign technology companies around stringent rules to store data locally, the government said on Tuesday, an issue that has upset firms such as Mastercard and also irked the U.S. government. The decision to review the rules comes at a time when trade tensions between India and United States have risen. India imposed higher tariffs on some U.S. goods on Sunday, following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi. On Monday Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and leaders of technology companies discussed several federal plans in the works to push for more stringent data rules. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year mandated foreign payment firms must store their payments data only in India to allow supervision. The central bank representative who attended the meeting “assured the industry representatives that the Reserve Bank of India will look into this”, a statement by the commerce ministry said. A lobbying effort by Mastercard, Visa Inc and American Express Co to dilute or reverse the central bank order has failed previously, Reuters has reported. Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga joined Monday’s meeting via video conference, the government statement said. India wants more stringent data storage rules so it can better access data and conduct investigations when the need arises. Technology companies argue the rules would force them to change their business models, hurt planned investments and raise costs. U.S.-India trade groups as well as top U.S. officials have expressed concerns around such rules in the past. “We’ll also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and secure consumers’ privacy,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week ahead of his visit to New Delhi this month. E-COMMERCE POLICY Other than RBI rules, India has also drafted an overarching law on data storage which calls for all personal data determined to be critical to be processed locally. The government will be the one to determine categories of such data. Technology companies on Monday requested minister Goyal to ensure the law should have more clarity around data classification and he assured them that the IT ministry would address those concerns, the government statement said. The government will take companies’ suggestions “towards building a robust data protection framework that will achieve the dual purpose of privacy and innovation”, it said, signaling the government could possibly go soft on implementing the rules. Concerns were also raised around a separate e-commerce policy that focuses on data localization and improved privacy safeguards. They call for housing of more data centers and server farms locally, measures bound to raise costs of multi-national companies. “Commerce Minister assured the e-commerce industry representatives that each and every concern of the industry will be addressed,” the government said. The discussions around the e-commerce policy come after India implemented new foreign investment rules from Feb. 1, forcing companies such as Amazon.com Inc and Walmart’s Flipkart to rethink their business strategy in the country. Source
  12. Draft bill proposes 10-year prison term for dealing in cryptocurrency A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. HIGHLIGHTS A draft bill has proposed 10-year jail term for people dealing in cryptocurrencies in India Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence A cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years. The "Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019" draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who "mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies. Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Given the high chances of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, various government bodies such as the Income Tax Department and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had endorsed banning of cryptocurrencies. The draft bill for banning cryptocurrency has been in the works for some time with Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg leading the exercise. While strict law would soon be in place to deal with people indulging in trade of cryptocurrency, India is likely to have its own digital currency. "A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," said an official. Source
  13. According to Sophos Senior Security Advisor John Shier, organisations are struggling with phishing and other user-focused attacks in India. NEW DELHI: With more and more Indians going online and generating never-heard-before kind of data, hackers have turned their focus on a country with over 450 million smartphone users and more than 550 million Internet users. The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest report by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). According to Sophos Senior Security Advisor John Shier, organisations are struggling with phishing and other user-focused attacks in India. "Most people don't believe that computer-based training (CBT) is effective and are looking for ways to improve their defenses against users being tricked into inviting malicious attackers into their network," Shier said in a statement. A KPMG report in April revealed that nearly 86 per cent of the consumers in India are concerned about eavesdropping of their conversations or theft or misuse of their messages through their devices. "The proliferation of connected and IoT devices will have a cross-sector impact on areas around data security and privacy. In response to this, regulators will need to establish mandatory data security requirements," said Atul Gupta, Leader-IT Advisory and Cyber Security Leader, KPMG in India. Around 87 per cent of the consumers are concerned that retailers will misuse or improperly distribute their information. According to Gauri Bajaj, Director, Cybersecurity (APAC), Tata Communications, the adoption of cyber security remains a key challenge. "The recent spate of cyber attacks only highlight the security risk that takes place both within and without the organisation. It is imperative that employees are sensitised to the risk of security breaches and trained to respond in such a scenario," Bajaj said. Not just phones, wearable devices like smartwatches are the next frontier for cyber security. "The future of wearable tech in the world of AI and predictive technology will be highly individualized, data driven and analytics intensive. One of the bigger applications of this will continue to be in the healthcare and fitness sector. "However, what is key to make this happen is also building a holistic ecosystem that tracks, guides and designs individualized plans for each individual, at a low cost," said Vishal Gondal, CEO and founder GOQii. It isn't enough to have an IT security team and having a strong culture around security is the next step in maturity for security awareness programmes, say experts. "Use a unique, complex password for banking and other financial online accounts. For others, use a password manager to keep them organised and readily available. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when available to provide an extra layer of security on accounts," Shier said. Be wary of clicking on emails from unknown sources or deals that look too good to be true. Cyber criminals use look-alike spam to lure in victims with links to bogus websites. Businesses should train employees on how to "spot a phish". "Use a layered business security strategy to provide protection at multiple levels to avoid attacks from different angles. Be wary of IoT devices on any network. Change factory default passwords immediately out of the box," the Sophos executive added. Source
  14. India expected to surpass the UK for second place in payment card fraud Prices for stolen Indian payment cards has also gone up by 150% in 2018 to around $17/card. Payment card fraud statistics for 2018 Image: Gemini Advisory Due to a booming cybercrime scene, India is expected to surpass the UK in 2019 and become the second-most targeted country for payment card fraud, behind the undisputed leader, the US. According to cybercrime statistics compiled by cyber-security firm Gemini Advisory, over 3.2 million Indian payment card records have been compromised and posted for sale online in 2018, a big jump from the previous year, when details for only 800,000 Indian payment cards had been posted on cybercrime forums. INDIA IS THE PERFECT TARGET FOR CYBERCRIME The sudden attention that India is receiving makes a lot of sense. The country is anticipated to overtake China to become the most populous country in the world by 2024, and India's economy is expected to surpass the UK economy by the end of the year. Coupled with a boom of India's middle class and the government's efforts to digitize the country, more and more Indians are now in possession of a payment card. But this sudden rise in valid payment cards has not been accompanied by similar investments in payment card security from the banking sector. Indian banks remain easy to hack, e-banking solutions are riddled with security flaws, and the ATM network is not under the same close observation like ATM networks in other countries, creating a fertile ground for cyber-attacks and financial fraud. CARD FRAUDSTERS RECOMMEND INDIA And the cybercrime scene has noticed. For starters, the country's neglected ATM network is now the place where most groups will try to cash-out stolen funds using cloned cards. "Threat actors in the dark web have previously recommended India as an ideal location for using ATMs to cash out of various compromised European cards with PIN data," Gemini Advisory researchers Stas Alforov and Christopher Thomas said in a report released yesterday. Similarly, because most Indian banks don't employ modern anti-fraud systems, Indian payment cards are also in hot demand, as they can be easily cloned and cashed out en-masse. Alforov and Thomas note that this realization on the side of cyber-criminal groups has led to a 150 percent surge in the sale price of Indian payment cards, which are now in hot demand. From a median price of $6.90 (approx. 478.02 Indian Rupees) in 2017, the average price for an Indian payment card is now at $17 (approx. 1,177.73 Indian Rupees). INDIAN BANKING SECTOR SLOWLY FIGHTING BACK However, the Indian financial sector has noticed cyber-criminals' attention as well, Gemini noted. The most important measure the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken in recent months to combat this sudden rise in payment card fraud was to mandate that all ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) devices become EMV-compatible by January 1, 2019. Gemini says that by introducing and switching to EMV technology, cyber-criminal gangs will have to invest more time, effort, and funds into cloning EMV chip-based cards, rather than having to capture and clone only a magnetic stripe, as they did until recently. But how much the switch to EMV technology will decrease payment card fraud is unknown. The country's population, middle class, and economic boom might keep India as an attractive target for many cyber-criminal groups. Source
  15. A new advertisement for Surf Excel detergent, which shows a girl dropping her Muslim friend at a mosque to pray on Holi, has drawn a huge amount of flak on social media platforms as being anti-Hindu. And, apart from Facebook and Twitter, the keyboard nationalists have also taken to showing their displeasure by review-bombing Excel on the Google Play store. Not Surf Excel though—the negative reviews are turning up on Microsoft Excel. As of now, the number of negative reviews are still pretty low—but the controversy has only just started to brew, and this could well grow with time. One of the latest reviews, which gives the app 5 stars, states, “I used to like this app, until they partnered with Surf and made such a disgusting anti religious ad. Now where ever I read the word Excel I can only think of anti Hindu propaganda. Shame on you for doing this.” There is, of course, no partnership between Microsoft and Surf. The controversy around the Surf Excel ad is needlessly bizarre, as the advertisement promotes religious harmony and doesn’t actually make any negative statement, but logic and rhetoric are often divorced in India. A one-star rating review is much more direct and to the point. The user writes, “boykot sarf excel. hindu birodh hai. pakisthan me ja kar business kar.” (Boycott Surf Excel. It is anti-Hindu. Take your business to Pakistan.) Another, coming in late in the day, writes, “Ye hindu virodhi hai,” meaning “this is anti-Hindu.” This isn’t the first time that an app has seen its ratings plummet due to the anger of Google Play users. In the past, Snapdeal and Snapchat have seen their ratings on the Google Play store affected by angry users. Article Source: HuffPost India btw, here is the beautiful ad by SurfExcel This beautiful Ad has angered Sanghis and they want to Boycott Surf Excel. There are some things Surf Excel cant clean. The Filthy Mind of Bhakts is one of them
  16. Another security lapse involving India's national identity system A lapse in security has led to the leaking of over a hundred thousand Aadhaar numbers, TechCrunch can reveal. One of the web systems used to record attendance of government workers for the Indian state of Jharkhand was left exposed and without a password as far back as 2014, allowing anyone access to names, job titles, and partial phone numbers on 166,000 workers as of the time of writing. But the photo on each record page used the file name as that worker’s Aadhaar number, a confidential 12-digit number assigned to each Indian citizen as part of the country’s national identity and biometric database. The data leak isn’t a direct breach of the central database run by Aadhaar’s regulator, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), but represents another lapse in responsibility from the authority charged with protecting its data. Aadhaar numbers aren’t strictly secret but are treated similarly to Social Security numbers. Anyone of the 1.23 billion Indian citizens enrolled in Aadhaar — more than 90 percent of the population — can use their unique number or their thumbprint to verify their identity in order to enroll in state services, like voting, welfare or financial assistance. Aadhaar users can even use their Aadhaar identity to open a bank account, get a SIM card, call an Uber, buy something on Amazon, or rent an Airbnb. But the system has been plagued with problems that have led to starvation in cases, and the illicit trade of citizen data on the underground market. It’s unclear why the Jharkhand government site was accessible to anyone who knew where to look, but little effort had been put in to ensure the security of the system — or even hide it from the outside world. The site was easily found on a subdomain of the state government’s website, but for long enough that it was indexed by Google, which cached copies of not only the site itself, but also its attendance record pages that still contain Aadhaar numbers in each worker’s photo. TechCrunch asked Baptiste Robert, a French security researcher who goes by the online handle Elliot Alderson, to take a look at the site. Robert has prior experience in revealing Aadhaar-related data leaks. Using less than a hundred lines of Python code, Robert demonstrated that it was easy for anyone to scrape the entire site in batches to download their photos and corresponding Aadhaar numbers. TechCrunch verified a small selection of Aadhaar numbers from the site using UIDAI’s own verification tool on its website. (We used a VPN in Bangalore as the page was unavailable in the U.S.). Each record came back as a positive match. After confirming our findings, we reached out to both the Jharkhand government and UIDAI. Jharkhand’s attendance site leaking worker data. At the time of publication, neither had responded, but the website had been pulled offline. The exposure may represent a fraction of the billion-plus users registered with Aadhaar, but uncovers yet another inadvertent disclosure of citizen data from a system that UIDAI claims is impenetrable. Instead of learning from mistakes and mishaps, UIDAI instead has shown a long history of rebuffing evidence of security incidents or breaches with mockery and declaring findings as “fake news,” by claiming to refute evidence without presenting any of its own. The leak of Aadhaar numbers may not be seen as sensitive compared to leaked biometric data. Former attorney general Mukul Rohtagi once called a separate leak of Aadhaar numbers “much ado about nothing.” But it’s raises fears that obtaining and misusing someone’s number could lead to identity theft and fraud — which reportedly peaked last year. Others have expressed concern that the system puts privacy at risk by recording information on a person’s life, which authorities can use to conduct surveillance on ordinary citizens. But the exposure alone contradicts the Indian government’s claims that the Aadhaar system as a whole is secure. In recent years, several security lapses involving data relating to Aadhaar have reignited fresh concerns about the centralized database — including several issues found by Robert. Last year, security researcher Karan Saini, a New Delhi-based security researcher, found a poorly-secured web address used by state-owned utility company Indane that had direct access to the Aadhaar database, allowing him to query results from the system. UIDAI rubbished the reports, baselessly claiming that there was “no truth to this story” in a series of tweets from its official Twitter account, despite evidence to the contrary. In the same year, India’s Tribune newspaper reported that some were selling direct access to the Aadhaar database. UIDAI responded by filing a complaint against the reporter with police. Despite the security concerns, India’s Supreme Court ruled the database constitutional in September after a long-running court battle. Source
  17. Amazon and Walmart have been dealt a big blow in India, one of their most important markets, as the local government tightens rules regarding how foreign ecommerce platforms sell goods and conduct business in the country. Above: Employees of Amazon India Under the current laws, foreign-owned ecommerce companies are not allowed to sell directly to customers (in other words, to operate under an inventory-based model of ecommerce). Instead, they can only provide a marketplace that acts as “an information technology platform” and serves as a facilitator between “buyer and seller.” To bypass this restriction, both Amazon and Flipkart, which sold a majority stake to Walmart last year, have acquired stakes in some of the biggest third-party sellers in the country. For instance, Amazon owns stake in parent companies of Cloudtail India and Appario Retail, while Flipkart until recently controlled WS Retail, the largest seller on its platform. In late December, the Indian government revised the policies to close the loophole. The policies, which go into effect tomorrow, prohibit Amazon and Flipkart from selling goods from companies in which they have a stake. The two companies were hoping the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, the government agency that issued the revised policies, would extend the February 1 deadline. But efforts to gain more time were unsuccessful. (At around 6:50 p.m. local time – 8.20 a.m. Pacific, the government said it won’t be extending the deadline.) “The Department had received some representations to extend the deadline of February 1, 2019 to comply with the conditions contained in the Press Note 2 of 2018 series on FDI Policy in e-Commerce issued by the Department. After due consideration, it has been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, not to extend the above deadline,” the government said in a statement today. As a result of this, both Amazon and Flipkart are preparing to comply with the new policies, which, among other changes, means that hundreds of thousands of goods, including Amazon’s own Kindle and Echo speaker lineup, will suddenly disappear from the online sites, multiple people familiar with the companies’ thinking have said. Amazon and Flipkart have explored various options in recent weeks, including holding talks with government officials, and have alerted their merchant partners to ensure they are ready to comply with the new policies, sources said. Commenting on DIPP’s notification today, an Amazon India spokesperson told VentureBeat, “While we remain committed to complying with all laws and regulations, we will continue to look to engage with the government to seek clarifications that help us decide our future course of action, as well as minimize the impact on our customers and sellers.” Flipkart did not respond to a request for comment. But in recent weeks, the company has warned the government that these new policies would cause “significant customer disruption.” Above: A look at how Amazon sells the Echo Dot on its US website and its India website. The revised policies say that Amazon, Flipkart, and any other foreign-owned player (or FDI, foreign direct investment) cannot have a single vendor purchase more than 25 percent of the inventory from the ecommerce’s business-to-business (wholesale) arm and then sell it on the same store. “Earlier, ecommerce players had a marketplace entity and a business-to-business playing entity, which would either sell on the marketplace or sell to other vendors participating in the marketplace,” Arjun Sinha, a New Delhi-based analyst and lawyer who studies policies, explained to VentureBeat. “They [the ecommerce companies] will have to look at these arrangements. Walmart will also need to check how much it can sell on Flipkart’s platform, and how much it can sell to merchants who sell on Flipkart. These structures would need to be relooked at to prevent indirect multi-brand retail,” Sinha said. An industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that many clauses in the policies are too ambiguous, so it would be especially challenging for Amazon and Flipkart to fully comply with them. For instance, Amazon has more than 400,000 partners in India. It would be a major pain point for the company to audit these partners’ books and ensure that they are playing fairly, the person said. The new policies also prevent Flipkart and Amazon from striking agreements that give third-party merchants exclusive rights to sell their products in the country. A look at the smartphone industry sheds more light on this issue. India is the fastest growing smartphone market, buoyed by Chinese vendors, many of which — including Xiaomi and OnePlus — entered the nation through partnerships with online platforms to cut overhead costs. Smartphones sales are crucial to Amazon and Flipkart, both of which count smartphones among the top three categories for their respective businesses. OnePlus, for instance, exclusively sells its handsets online through Amazon India. The Chinese company, which dominates the premium tier of the smartphone market in India, said this week that it willingly signed that partnership with Amazon. What is at stake? At stake is nothing short of India’s ecommerce market, which is estimated to grow to $200 billion by 2026. Amazon has invested more than $5.5 billion in its India operations, and Walmart paid $16 billion to snag Flipkart. The amendment to the policies could significantly derail the opportunities these companies see in India. Indeed, a draft analysis from global consultant PwC, first reported by Reuters this week, slated that the new ecommerce policy could reduce online sales by $46 billion by 2022. A representative of All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), a lobby group of over 30,000 online sellers, said the new policies are not the right solution to help small merchants — supposedly the rationale behind the government’s move — and accused the government of undertaking this task to appease shopkeepers and small business voters ahead of general elections. Some of the clauses mentioned in the new policy — including an ecommerce platforms’ inability to source more than 25 percent of goods from a single vendor — have been in place for more than two years. Ecommerce players worked around these laws for years while the government turned a blind eye, the AIOVA representative said. “Why is the government, months ahead of the elections, turning attention to this now?” the spokesperson asked. Indian government officials did not respond to a request for comment. “Government should realise their work doesn’t stop at policy making, but also requires enforcement. In [the] past, rules have not been enforced, circumvention and self certifications have led to a duopolised market. Government needs to disclose who is stopping these investigations from happening, which is leading to policy intervention,” an AIOVA spokesperson said. But some businesses have expressed approval of the new policy. Kunal Bahl, cofounder and CEO of Snapdeal, an ecommerce company that pivoted to cater to businesses two years ago after negotiations for a merger with Flipkart fell apart, said, “Snapdeal welcomes updates to FDI policy on ecommerce. Marketplaces are meant for genuine, independent sellers, many of whom are MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises). These changes will enable a level playing field for all sellers, helping them leverage the reach of ecommerce.” Retailers with a major presence in the offline market have decried the discounts Amazon and Flipkart have been offering to win customers in recent years. These are among the businesses in support of the new policy. Kishore Biyani is founder and CEO of Future Group, one of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in India. Biyani said the new policy will force ecommerce players to rethink their entire game plan for India. “There was ambiguity in the previous policy, which some players were taking advantage of,” Biyani said in a televised interview with Indian channel ET Now. “India should always be first with these kinds of policies. Why can’t we build our own Alibaba, and Amazon?” This sense of nationalism was also on display earlier this month when Mukesh Ambani, who is the country’s richest man and runs Reliance Retail, the largest retailer in the country, announced the company’s intention to launch an ecommerce platform to challenge Amazon and Walmart. “We have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonization. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India — in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian,” he said at an event that was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of One97 Communications, which operates India’s largest mobile wallet app — Paytm — and also runs ecommerce arm Paytm Mall, declined to comment on the policy at a recent event in New Delhi. A spokesperson for Paytm said the company had no comment at this time. The government, which is expected to deliver an annual budget as soon as tomorrow, reportedly risks upsetting the U.S. administration with this new hardline approach. According to Reuters, the U.S. government has expressed concerns about the new ecommerce policies. Greg Hitt, speaking on behalf of Walmart, told the outlet that the Indian government should “certainly, as you would expect, have engaged the (United States) administration on this issue.” Update at 3:15 p.m. Pacific: Several Amazon-owned products, including select Echo smart speakers, as well as some travel bags, batteries, office supply items, and chargers under Basics brand, and some kitchen items under Presto and apparels under Shoppers Stop brands, have become unavailable on Amazon’s website. Source
  18. The government ID database, Aadhaar, became a victim to multiple data breaches which are reported to have compromised the database of 1.1 billion citizens of the country who were registered. In 2018, Cybercrime, more threatening than ever, instigated back to back data breaches across the world which endangered the personal records of millions of people and India is reported to be the largest victim of those breaches. The findings of the World Economic Forum's 14th edition of Global Risks Report 2019, stated the risks to which Environmental degradation is being exposed to; out of the top five most impactful global problems this year, four are related to climate. In 2019, geo-economic and geopolitical are the most vital concerns and 90 percent of experts are anticipating further conflict among the major powers. In January, the criminals were reported to be selling access to the personal records of citizens at a cost of 500 Rs for a time period of 10 minutes, while, in March, a leak allowed the names and ID numbers of the registered citizens to be downloaded by anyone. Other recent instances of data breaches include millions of users of Facebook and MyFitnessPal having their personal data compromised. The report by World Economic Forum outlined the deteriorated international relations which pose serious challenges. It highlighted the reduced ability of the world to battle urgent crises. Other aspects put forth by The Global Risks Report includes the rapid worsening of trade disputes, deterioration in economic and geopolitical conditions and worsened international cooperation. Furthermore, the findings of the reports indicated further challenges to multilateral trading rules and agreements. As per the eighty-five percent of the participants to 2019’s survey, heightened risks of "political confrontations between major powers" are expected as the year progresses. Beyond the short term, environmental dangers have continued to dominate the concerns of the survey participants for over 10 years. Referenced from the statements given by Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum, "With global trade and economic growth at risk in 2019, there is a more urgent need than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation. What we need now is coordinated, concerted action to sustain growth and to tackle the grave threats facing our world today," Source
  19. MUMBAI (Reuters) - A group representing online sellers in India will appeal against the Competition Commision of India’s (CCI’s) ruling in favour of Walmart-owned Flipkart, the group’s lawyer Chanakya Basa said in a release on Saturday. All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), which represents more than 3,500 online sellers, had complained that Flipkart was using its dominant position to favour select sellers. The CCI had rejected this argument in November. The CCI had said Flipkart as well as Amazon did not break regulations through their selection of merchants and brands. The AIOVA will appeal to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Monday against the CCI decision, Basa told Reuters. “We firmly believe we have filed adequate information to prove the existence of a prima-facie case which the hon’ble Commission has failed to take into account. Hence, we are filing this appeal,” Basa said in a statement. The AIOVA has also brought a similar case against Amazon, alleging it favours merchants that it partly owns, such as Cloudtail and Appario. India has a burgeoning e-commerce market, with almost 500 million Indians using the internet in 2018. The market is tipped to grow to $200 billion in a decade, according to Morgan Stanley. Source
  20. NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Global social media and technology giants are gearing up to fight sweeping new rules proposed by the Indian government that would require them to actively regulate content in one of the world’s biggest Internet markets, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The rules, proposed by the Information Technology ministry on Christmas Eve, would compel platforms such as Facebook, its messaging service WhatsApp and Twitter to remove unlawful content, such as anything that affected the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. This had to be done within 24 hours, the rules propose. The proposal, which caught many holidaying industry executives off guard, is open for public comment until Jan. 31. It will then be adopted as law, with or without changes. The move comes ahead of India’s national election due by May and amid rising worries that activists could misuse social media, especially the WhatsApp messaging service, to spread fake news and sway voters. Industry executives and civil rights activists say the rules smack of censorship and could be used by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase surveillance and crack down on dissent. Social media firms have long battled efforts by governments around the world to hold them responsible for what users post on their platforms. U.S. and India lobby groups, representing Facebook and other companies, have sought legal opinions from law firms on the impact of the federal proposal, and have started working on drafting objections to be filed with the IT ministry, four sources in the sector said. “The companies can’t take this lying down. We are all concerned, it’s fundamental to how these platforms are governed,” said an executive at a global social media company. An estimated half a billion people in India have access to the Internet. Facebook has about 300 million users in the country and WhatsApp has more than 200 million. Tens of millions of Indians use Twitter. The new rules, the sources said, would put privacy of users at risk and raise costs by requiring onerous round-the-clock monitoring of online content. Internet firm Mozilla Corp said last week the proposal was a “blunt and disproportionate” solution to the problem of harmful content online, and one which could lead to over-censorship and “chill free expression”. The IT ministry has said the proposal was aimed at only making social media safer. “This is not an effort to curb freedom of speech, or (impose) censorship,” Gopalakrishnan S., a joint secretary at India’s IT ministry said on Saturday when the ministry ran a #SaferSocialMedia campaign on Twitter. Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment. A Twitter spokesperson said the company continues to engage with the IT Ministry and civil society on the proposed rules. “This will be like a sword hanging on technology companies,” said Nikhil Narendran, a partner specializing in technology law at Indian law firm Trilegal. TIGHT REGULATIONS Such regulations are not unique to India. Vietnam has asked tech companies to open local offices and store data domestically, while Australia’s parliament has passed a bill to force companies to give police access to encrypted data. Germany requires social media companies to remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours or face fines. Nevertheless, the proposal would further strain relations between India and global technology firms. They have been at odds since last year due to federal proposals requiring them to store more user data locally to better assist legal investigations. The new rules, called “intermediary guidelines”, also propose requiring companies with more than 5 million users in India to have a local office and a nodal officer for “24x7 coordination with law enforcement”. When asked by a government agency or through a court order, companies should within 24 hours “remove or disable access” to “unlawful” content, they stipulate. The rules also mandate companies to reveal the origin of a message when asked, which if enforced would deal a blow to WhatsApp which boasts of end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy. WhatsApp has battled criticism after fake messages about child kidnap gangs on its platform sparked mob lynchings in India last year. “You have created a monster, you should have the ability to control the monster,” a senior government official said, referring to WhatsApp. “We remain flexible in principle (to suggestions), but we definitely want them to be more accountable, especially the big companies,” the official said. Source
  21. LUCKNOW: When Ashutosh, 24, approached an online agency for a home-tuition job, he was conned into a contract and whisked into a dim-lit room surrounded by women and asked to do body massage. Three others also fell victim to this online fraud. In another bizarre case, Preeti Singh, 38, employed with a bio-fertilizer firm, received an email on resignations of top executives, firm’s bankruptcy details and new products in the pipeline. Later, it was found that mail accounts of the honchos were hacked. These cases are a window to the sudden spurt in cybercrime in 2018 in the city even as violent crimes saw a drastic dip in comparison to 2017. In fact, cybercrime cases rose by 142% over the previous year, according to a police dossier. Also, number of cybercrime cases were less than violent incidents in 2017, but skyrocketed in 2018. In 2017, at least 864 cybercrime incidents, including phishing, card cloning, financial swindling via social networking sites and job-related frauds were reported in the city, but in 2018, cybercrime cases doubled to 2,085. On the other hand, violent crimes — dacoity, murder, rape, kidnapping and loot — accounted for 910 cases in 2017 and declined by 8% in 2018 to 842 incidents. Data shows the cybercrime case count was less than violent crimes in the city till 2017. But rise in digital transactions after demonetization in 2016 and the rapid spread in net connectivity triggered a surge in cybercrime last year. In 2016, cybercrime cases dipped by 40% against violent crimes Number of cybercrime cases rose from 728 in 2016 to 864 in 2017 and galloped to 2,085 in 2018. In contrast, violent crime cases declined from 1,222 in 2016 to 910 in 2017 and further dipped to 842 in 2018. An analysis shows cybercrime cases were 40% less than violent crimes, but the gap narrowed by 5% in 2017, but surged ahead by 142% in the last calendar year. SSP Lucknow Kalanidhi Naithani said after demonetisation, more people began using e-wallets and debit, credit cards and became targets. The addition of 30% new users in the digital medium in 2017 also led to increase in cybercrime, he said. Independent cyber expert Adarsh Dubey, however, says increase in connectivity is not the sole reason. “Police force is poorly equipped. They still depend on old techniques of tracing IP address, then sending it to social media firms for tracing miscreants through ‘dark web’. Policemen are still unaware of crypto currency, block chain frauds and more such cases will be reported, he said. Source
  22. Reliance Jio, the third largest mobile carrier in India, is blocking access to several proxy and VPN sites that allow users to anonymously browse the web and sidestep internet service providers’ content restrictions online. Quartz reported the incident today, following reports from several Redditors in a thread from last week. That’s worrying, because it indicates that Jio – which claims to have 250 million subscribers (PDF) and offers some of the cheapest data plans in the world – is in violation of net neutrality principles that state that ISPs should treat all online traffic equally. The government approved these principles last August. TNW tested the sites listed – Hide.me, VPNbook, Hidester, Kproxy, Proxysite, Proxy.toolur, and Megaproxy – and found them to blocked on Jio. The same sites were accessible via other ISPs and mobile carriers like ACT and Airtel. That could mean Jio is blocking these sites without any government directives. The news follows India’s nationwide ban on more than 800 porn sites last October. At that time, Jio was believed to have begun blocking those sites before other ISPs in the country. Jio hasn’t yet shared a response to our questions about the latest site blocks; we’ll update this post when we learn more. India is notorious for blocking internet access and banning specific sites – not only because of the number of such incidents, but also because of the lack of transparency from the government when it comes to these restrictions. It’s alarming to see this sort of behavior extending to private ISPs. Source
  23. India is days away from officially unveiling what will be the world's tallest statue, standing at an incredible 182 metres tall. Dubbed The Statue of Unity, it is modelled after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was a key figure in the struggle for Indian independence from British colonial rule in the 1940s. Located alongside the Narmada River in Gujarat, on the western coast of India, it is nearly 30 metres taller than the current record holder — the Spring Temple Buddha in China — and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty. The project, which cost a reported $580 million, was by announced in 2010 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be on hand to lead the official unveiling on October 31. Mr Modi said in 2013 that the statue would be "a symbol of India rising". "I want people from all over the world to see this statue just like they go see America's Statue of Liberty or Paris's [Eiffel] Tower," he said. "This was a dream for many years. Many people added new colour to this dream, they gave suggestions and after a lot of churning, this has happened. "Many people have inspired and blessed us and I thank them today." A museum and a hotel will also open next to the statue to encourage visitors and tourism from all over the world, and the project will reportedly generate near on 15,000 jobs. Known as the "Iron Man" of India, Patel was India's first home minister and first deputy prime minister and was a major figure in the unification of the country. Ironically, while he was alive Patel was said to be against the building of statues and memorials to glorify people. Source
  24. The report also recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second successive time. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift. India leapfrogged to the 77th rank in the World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, jumping 23 notches from last year, a news that is likely to bring cheer for the Narendra Modi-government that is caught in an apparent turf battle with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The report also recognises India as one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, for the second successive time. India is the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift. The jump is significant, as it comes after last year’s 30-rung climb when India moved into the top 100 rankings among 190 countries. India has improved its rank by 53 positions in the last two years, and 65 positions in the last four years (2014-18). On the “distance to frontier metric”, a measure to gauge how far an economy’s policies are from global best practices, India’s score improved to 67.23 from 60.76 last year. This means last year India improved its business regulations in absolute terms – indicating that the country is continuing its steady shift towards global standards. The annual report, which ranks countries on business-friendliness, procedural ease, regulatory architecture and absence of bureaucratic red tape, could not have come at a more opportune time for the government that is caught in a perception battle with the RBI's autonomy. India is in the top 10 of Protecting Minority Investors (Rank 7). “India continued its reform agenda, implementing six reforms in the past year. India is now the region’s top-ranked economy,” the World Bank said, ahead of Bhutan (81) and Sri Lanka (100), Nepal (110), the Maldives (139), Pakistan (136) and Afghanistan (167) and Bangladesh (176). India has improved its rank in six out of the 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices on seven out of 10 indicators. The most dramatic improvements have been registered in the indicators related to 'Construction Permits' and 'Trading Across Borders'. In the 'Grant of Construction Permits' indicator, India’s ranking improved from 181 last year to 52 in this year’s report—a jump of 129 ranks in a single year. In the 'Trading Among Borders' indicator, India’s rank improved by 66 positions, moving from 146 in 2017 to 80 in 2018. India reduced the time and cost to export and import through various initiatives, including the implementation of electronic sealing of containers, the upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures, the World Bank said. In the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business rankings, the top 10 economies are New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark, which retain their first, second and third spots, respectively, for a second consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; United States; United Kingdom and FYR Macedonia. Many took to Twitter to celebrate the development. "Today, India’s stands at 77 in WB Doing Business 2019. In 3 years, we have improved our ranking by 65 points - no country of India’s size and complexity has achieved this. Demonstrates that in India, transformative changes are possible if we put our minds to it," says Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog. "India has done it again! Under the able leadership of Hon'ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji, India jumped the #EaseofDoingBusinessRankings by 23 this year to be ranked at 77. #IndiaMeansBusiness #EoDB," tweeted Suresh Prabhu. "We have made notable improvements in 6 important #EoDB indicators and are steadily moving towards implementation of international best practices. India is now ranked 1st among South Asian countries compared to 6th rank in 2014," he tweeted. The Commerce Minister gave out a list of tweets with graphics that say how India improved on many fronts including the ease of securing construction permits, getting an electricity connection, paying taxes and zero-fee for reducing under the shops and establishments act. Source
  25. Global Internet security firm Quick Heal Technologies has detected more than 180 million threats on desktops and laptops with Windows Operating System in India. According to the quarterly threat report released by the firm on Wednesday, more than 2 million malware, 16,000 ransomware, 13,000 crypto-mining malware, 141,000 exploits, and 40,488 potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) and adware are detected on a daily basis. “More than 18 crore threats were detected on Windows devices of individual and enterprise users between April and June 2018. May was the busiest month, with more than 74 million incidents detected, followed by April and June that witnessed 55 million and 51 million detections respectively,” a Quarterly Threat Report 2018 said. “The absence of appropriate cybersecurity measures has also made users and businesses across India more vulnerable to emerging threats,” it further added. Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Sanjay Katkar said in a statement, "Cybercriminals are at a completely different level today than they were a few years ago. They are using novel technologies to drive increasingly-complex attacks and are targeting larger user bases." "The latest threat report highlights this risk that individuals and businesses in India currently face with this evolution of the threat landscape," Katkar said. The Trojan Horse families have registered a quarter-on-quarter growth of four percent in the second quarter of 2018 and remained the most dominant malware in this quarter also. “Individual users and businesses across India need to understand the massive risk that they are exposed to at present. Ignorance is not a viable cybersecurity strategy. The need of the hour is to drive large-scale adoption of cutting-edge security solutions such as those offered by Quick Heal and Seqrite,” he said. However, the rise of cryptojacking remains the biggest worry, as it is getting direct monetary benefits to cybercriminals. “Cryptojacking attacks remain undetected for a long time and can often be used as a platform to launch other complex attacks…over 3 million cryptojacking hits were detected till May 2018, with the number of active mobile cryptojacking variants increasing to 25,” the report said. Quick Heal Quarterly Threat Report, Q2 2018 PDF http://www.quickheal.co.in/documents/threat-report/Quick-Heal-Quarterly-Threat-Report-Q2-2018.pdf Source
  • Create New...