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Traders’ body asks Modi government to ban WhatsApp, Facebook over new privacy policy

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NEW DELHI: Traders’ body CAIT on Sunday wrote to Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanding that the Narendra Modi government restrict WhatsApp from implementing its new privacy policy or impose a ban on the messaging app and its parent company Facebook.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) claimed that through the new privacy policy, “all kinds of personal data, payment transactions, contacts, location and other vital information of a person who is using WhatsApp will be acquired by it and can be used for any purpose by WhatsApp”.

In the communication to Prasad, CAIT has demanded that “government should immediately restrict WhatsApp from implementing the new policy or put a ban on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook”, the traders’ body stated.

CAIT said Facebook has more than 200 million users in India and enabling it to access data of every user can pose serious threat to not only the economy but even to the security of the country.

However, in an email response to PTI, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, “To further increase transparency, we updated the privacy policy to describe that going forward businesses can choose to receive secure hosting services from our parent company Facebook to help manage their communications with their customers on WhatsApp.

“Though of course, it remains up to the user whether or not they want to message with a business on WhatsApp.”

The spokesperson further said that the update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world.

“WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy. We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes so they have time to review the new policy over the course of the next month,” the spokesperson added.

An email sent to Facebook seeking comment on the issue did not elicit a response.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said, “The changed privacy policy of WhatsApp is an encroachment on privacy of an individual and runs against the basic fundamentals of Constitution of India and therefore the CAIT has demanded immediate intervention of the government.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Kumar Mangalam Birla tells government he is willing to give up promoter stake in Vodafone Idea

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NEW DELHI: Kumar Mangalam Birla has told the government of India he his willing to offer his stake in Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) to any state-owned or “domestic financial entity” to keep the stressed telecom company afloat.

Birla, VIL’s promoter and chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, made the suggestion in a letter to union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on June 7. VIL has a debt of around Rs 1.8 trillion, which includes deferred spectrum obligations and adjusted gross revenue liabilities. Its board had last September announced a plan to raise Rs 25,000 crore but investors have not been forthcoming in the absence of government support.

Birla’s letter highlighted the need for urgent measures from the government while offering to give up control of the company. “It is with a sense of duty towards 27 crore Indians connected by VIL, I am more than willing to hand over my stake in the company to any entity-public sector/government/domestic financial entity or any other that the government may consider worthy of keeping the company as a going concern,” Birla said in his letter.

Birla owns over 27 per cent stake in VIL, while Vodafone Plc holds over 44 per cent. The current market capitalisation of VIL is over Rs 24,000 crore. The two promoters have decided against infusing fresh funds in the company. Vodafone Plc has already written off all its investment in VIL following continuous

losses.

“To actively participate in the fund raising, the potential foreign investors want to see clear government intent to have a three player telecom market (consistent with its public stance) through positive actions on long-standing requests such as clarity on AGR liability, adequate moratorium on spectrum payments and most importantly, a floor pricing regime above the cost of service. In the absence of definitive steps in this regard, the potential investors have understandable hesitation to invest,” Birla wrote.

Birla further said that VIL’s financial situation will drive its operations to an irretrievable point of collapse without immediate active support from the government on these three issues.

Last month the Supreme Court dismissed petitions of VIL and Bharti Airtel seeking correction in alleged errors in calculating the AGR. VIL had calculated its remaining AGR dues at around Rs 21,500 crore after making a payment of Rs 7800 crore. However, the department of telecommunications concluded the company’s total AGR liability of around Rs 58,000 crore.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Aeris Communications joins hands with Sobus Insight

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NEW DELHI: Aeris Communications has announced its collaboration with Sobus Insight Forum – a holistic, collaborative platform and ecosystem for sustainable, scalable, social impact creation by nurturing social entrepreneurship in the country among students, social entrepreneurs, and the larger community.

The MoU establishes Aeris as the IoT Technology Innovation Partner of Sobus. Aeris’ IoT platform, IoT solutions, and services, as well as applications and interfaces, will be used in the technology-driven, current, and future social projects launched by Sobus in their Centre of Excellence (CoE) operational at multiple locations across the country for accelerating social business.

At Aeris Communications, we are determined to lead and show that IoT can change the world in amazing ways. We help to connect communities, create positive social impact, and bring smart solutions to some of the world’s most challenging environments. Aeris strongly believes in making the world a better place through our partnerships with NGOs, social entrepreneurs, internships, respecting diversity, promoting inclusion, and more.

Both Aeris and Sobus believe that, by working together, they can prepare talented students and social entrepreneurs to have skills with greater technical relevance to the IoT market and possibly develop IoT applications relevant for various verticals including small scale industries, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and more, that could be brought to market. Aeris IoT Technology will be deployed at Sobus CoEs being set up at multiple locations across the country. This partnership will usher in an innovation-driven environment where the students and the social entrepreneurs can work with Aeris personnel and technology on multiple projects for building IoT applications.

Social entrepreneurship is not a new concept. It is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies, or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund, and implement solutions to address social, cultural, or environmental issues. With a blend of optimism and pragmatism, social entrepreneurs are bringing about broad transformation in India.

On signing the MoU, Dr. Rishi Bhatnagar, President, Aeris Communications India Pvt. Ltd, said, “The social innovation segment in India requires support in capacity building and go-to-market strategies, leveraging new-age technologies. Our partnership with Sobus Insight Forum will help in unleashing technological and social innovations that can usher in a new developmental model the world has not seen before. We are totally committed to bringing a positive impact by technologically empowering social entrepreneurs to fill in the gap which is left unattended by economic entrepreneurship.”

On the occasion, Digvijay Choudhari, CEO & Managing Director, Sobus Insight Forum, said, “The Sobus Center of Excellence (CoE) works in areas to create entrepreneurship and livelihood with a focus on underserved geographies. To facilitate that, the CoE works with educational institutes to build capacity and implement solutions. This partnership with Aeris will augment the capacity of such centers with appropriate technologies, especially with IoT relevant to those areas. This partnership will play an instrumental role in empowering changemakers to create sustainable impact at scale leveraging the extended and connected network for grassroots reach, robust infrastructure, and critical market linkages with best in class connected IoT technology from Aeris.”

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Kaspersky partners Bharti Airtel for selling cybersecurity software

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NEW DELHI: Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has partnered with Bharti Airtel to reach out to its over 34 crore customers for selling its security softwares at lower prices.

The collaboration between the two companies will allow Airtel customers to purchase Kaspersky Total Security solutions directly from the Airtel Thanks app exclusive deals on them, a joint statement by Kaspersky and Airtel said.

“We are very much looking forward to supporting Bharti Airtel in its goal to protect their users, create a more secure internet, and build a safer digital world together with Kaspersky.

“I am convinced that this partnership will further contribute to establishing Airtel as an innovational pioneer and a leader in its industry,” Kaspersky CEO Eugene Kaspersky said in the statement.

According to Kaspersky, mobile threats in India have drastically increased since 2019 and are becoming more targeted and sophisticated in nature. India ranked seventh among the countries attacked with mobile threats in 2020, Kaspersky said.

“Airtel is working round the clock to deliver a secure network experience through world-class infrastructure and partnerships.

“We are delighted to partner with Kaspersky and make their solutions easily accessible for Airtel customers, who can purchase and install these in a matter of minutes and enjoy complete peace of mind,” Bharti Airtel Chief Information Officer Pradipt Kapoor said.

Source: Press Trust of INdia

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