Nikhil Pahwa Profile picture
16 Oct, 11 tweets, 4 min read
The Indian government has today "clarified" it's position on Foreign Investment in Digital News Media in India.

It is restricting FDI to 26%, in line with print, and not just in media companies, but in news aggregators too.…

Thread 👇 (1/n)
1. Govt is positioning this as a benefit. That's incorrect. FDI has been reduced from 100% to 26%. How do we know it was 100%? NewsCorp had bought VCCircle in 2015:… They've now sold it at a loss to Mint, after the FDI policy was announced.
2. This move strengthens the traditional media lobby against digital companies. Traditional media co's had formed a digital lobby group in 2018. This is probably their doing:… (3/n)
3. This might impact local bureaus of international publications too. Many contribute directly to websites,and not to television or radio. Not clear exactly what the impact will be, but this part of the clarification is worrying for them: (4/n)
4. The impact on news aggregators is particularly tricky. Will DailyHunt be impacted? Probably. Inshorts might be impacted too. What about Google News? They aren't a registered entity in India, even as an aggregator. (5/n)
5. What about Facebook and YouTube, where news content is posted by users? They, by definition, will be news aggregators. Note how it specifically mentions "user submitted links" in the clarification. They do have India entities. (6/n)
6. There's an increase in govt control over digital news media by controlling funding. Now you'll need government permission to raise funds. Instead of liberalising news media, easing restrictions on print, they've taken digital to the level of control they have on print.(7/n)
7. Digital News co's will get 1 year to restructure to comply within these guidelines. Digital news companies restructure to set up co's in Singapore, & raise funds in SG from here on. This means there will be less FDI in Digital Media in India. (8/n)
8. Additional restrictions, probably targeting The Wire: CEO has to be an Indian citizen. Foreign citizens employed need govt security clearance, and if not cleared, will have to resign. (9/n)
9. Reminder: This policy change has been finalised without public consultation. Representations they've received are not in the public domain.
10. Digital Media co's need to brace for another policy: Registration of Periodicals and Publications Bill, 2019 (10/n)
11. I had spoken with @iamsoumyarendra about this policy when it was first announced, a year ago:

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More from @nixxin

18 Sep
The removal of Paytm and Paytm First Games from the Google Play Store covers two interesting #techpolicy issues:

1. Platform Power: Google and Apple have an operating system duopoly. Remember that you can't upload an app store app on the Google Play Store. Thus
They have the power of the default. It's also an app store duopoly. They leverage this duopoly to control entire ecosystems, and effectively control the app economy of a country. The TRAI Chairman @rssharma has spoken about "platform neutrality". Can they ban apps from
their platform, without repercussions? Of course they can, as a pvt platform. They don't want to enable realmoney gaming & gambling? That's their prerogative. But there's a challenge when apps don't have any other significant options.

2. Realmoney gaming: This is where it
Read 13 tweets
14 Sep
Q's you have to ask about the IE story on Zenhua and Chinese profiling of significant Indian folks is:
1. is profiling illegal?
It isn't. Not even as per the personal data protection bill. Twitter does it. Facebook does it. LinkedIn does it. Political parties do it.
2. Is collecting public data off social media illegal?
It isn't. Much of ad industry is exactly that. Collect data, classify people, target them. But it is surveillance. SC said about Indian govts social media tender: blanket montioring of social media is mass surveillance.
3. Is identifying/documenting relationships between people using publicly available data illegal?
It isn't. Journalists do this for stories. LinkedIn does it, quite publicly. Social media = behavioral and relational info
Read 10 tweets
12 Jul
Dunzo, one of India's most popular hyper-local delivery apps (funded by Google) said its user phone numbers and email addresses were breached in a #cybersecurity incident.

Here's what we know 👇
1. Attackers compromised servers of a third party that Dunzo works with, and accessed the Dunzo database through them.

2. Payment info (credit cards etc) was not compromised

3. Passwords were not compromised because Dunzo uses OTPs

What we don't know 👇
1. We don't know if email addresses of all users have been compromised, or only some.

2. Who the vendor is. Dunzo hasn't disclosed the name.

There remains a risk (if the vendor wasn't working exclusively with Dunzo) that other databases could have been compromised.

Read 6 tweets
29 Jun
India has banned 59 Chinese apps. The list is below.

Thread with my comments on this follows 👇 (1/6)
1. This is the very first time, to my knowledge, that the Indian govt has actually ANNOUNCED a ban on apps under Section 69 of the IT Act. You know what's surprising? They don't NEED to announce it. Section 69 allows for secret govt blocking. (2/6)
Thus, this is a POLITICAL decision. It has been announced to send China a message. It should not be seen as anything but a political decision. No change in way these apps function over the past 3 months. If this is the right decision, why wasn't it taken a year ago? (3/6)
Read 12 tweets
2 Jun
Thread: I attended an Zoom call (also live-streamed on FB) on Sunday, on invitation from BJP's Vinit Goenka, who has filed a case in the SC against Twitter.

Mr. Goenka called for Twitter to be declared a terrorist org. My story on this call:… (1/n)
Not only did Mr. Goenka call for twitter to be declared a terrorist organisation, but also for charges of sedition to be filed against the company’s public policy officials, and cases and complaints to be filed against them across the country… (2/n)
On the call were various other complainants. One has filed complaints with commissioners of Police in Mumbai and Pune, as well as the NIA. Others in their local police stations. One said he is in the process of filing a case in Gujarat HC… (3/n)
Read 8 tweets
29 May
The battle between Twitter and Trump is escalating, and this might not end well for the rest of us. Trump's executive order on social media achieves little, but it's more of a threat that it could change the way the Internet works.

#Thread 1/n…
(2/n) Reason why we're can upload content on sites like YouTube,FB,Reddit,Twitter,every forum,all blogs (w comments) is because 230(c) of US Communications Decency Act provides safe harbor: platform/ISP is not liable for content that you and I create( but we are). +
(3/n) This is why Facebook allows you to post on Facebook. Blogs and Reddit allow you to comment. YouTube allows you to upload your videos. ISPs allow you to create your own site. Therefore, 230(c) (& India's IT Act Section 79) PROTECT the platforms that ENABLE our free speech.
Read 19 tweets

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