India seeks verified IDs to register email accounts • The Register

Asia in brief The Indian government last week published a draft Telecoms Act that defines all over-the-top services as telecoms providers and therefore subjects them to the same regulations that apply to network operators.

The Draft Indian Telecoms Act, 2022 [PDF] defines a telecommunications service to include “broadcast, email, voicemail, voice, video and data communications services” provided over fixed or cellular networks. The bill also mentions over-the-top (OTT) communication services.

This wording means India is proposing to regulate Zoom, Gmail and WhatsApp.

As pointed out by India’s Internet Freedom Foundation, the draft also requires that all entities defined as telecom service operators identify customers using government-mandated documents. The identity of the sender of a message must be disclosed to the recipient – a measure to reduce spam.

The draft also allows the Indian government to shut down the internet in public emergencies or to protect public safety. Regulators will also be given the power to “direct that notices or classes of notices to or from any person or group of people, or relating to any particular subject, sent or received by any telecommunications network be suspended.”

In other words: censorship in an emergency.

The Internet Freedom Foundation has criticized the draft as naive, citing the presence of the WebRTC framework in most browsers and its enabling of real-time communication, noting that it is unregulated, although it can be used for the type of interaction required by a Video conferencing is enabled app. The foundation also has privacy concerns and believes the bill leaves some colonial-era structures in place.

Consultation on the bill runs until October 1.

Simon Sharwood

China’s payment apps could enable crime and deserve more attention from US lawmakers, experts say

The US House of Representatives Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy last week examined whether payment systems operated in countries like China and Russia posed a threat – and were advised that they likely did.

Experts warned that payment apps developed in these countries deserve more attention as they could be used for nefarious purchases, such as those used to influence the results of the 2016 US elections through Facebook ads.

“The link between opposing illiberal regimes and cybercrime cartels acting as their proxies using these systems is clear. These alternative payment systems are not small, as China’s centralized virtual currencies WeChat Pay and Alipay will process 294.6 trillion won, or about $45.6 trillion, in 2020,” said Global Fellow at the Wilson Center Scott Dueweke, who pointed out that this number Transactions made on other platforms in 2021 “dwarfed”.

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“In particular, alternative payment systems owned or based in countries like Russia and China raise important questions about national security implications, such as: B. the effectiveness of traditional regulatory and financial integrity tools, including US economic and trade sanctions, as well as the impact on US dollar strength,” explained [PDF] the memorandum of hearing.

The committee added that “the US dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency allows US policymakers to use economic coercion against its threats.” Large amounts of money moving into other instruments undermine this advantage.

Indonesia Passes Privacy Law, Considers Crypto Rules

Indonesia’s parliament last week passed a long-awaited personal data protection law that could fine companies 2 percent of annual sales for misusing customer data.

Those who falsify personal data for personal gain could face up to six years in prison, while those illegally collecting data could face up to five years behind bars.

Those whose data has been breached can receive financial compensation and also have the option to withdraw their consent to its use at any time.

The bill, which has been in the works since 2016, also authorizes the formation of a regulator to impose fines on violators.

Some lawmakers have said the law will make it easier for Indonesia to transfer data between countries with comparable laws. The country’s Commerce Department has also proposed new rules for crypto asset exchanges.

The new law reportedly requires that two-thirds of a crypto company’s directors and officers must be Indonesian citizens and reside locally.

The law also requires an exchange service to use a third party to house client investments and prohibits asset reinvestment.

No timeframe was given for when the law will reach Parliament.

Hong Kong wants to develop central bank digital currency

The Monetary Authority of Hong Kong decided last week to move ahead with the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

A strategy document [PDF] noted that previous work on an electronic Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD) had not identified an urgent need for the creation of such an instrument, but expressed the opinion that global experimentation in the field means that there is a role for a local digital currency “can come out quickly”. the rapid development or even revolution in the digital economy.”

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The potential for CBDCs to become established as a cheaper and faster means of making cross-border payments is seen as a likely driver for the need for digital currency development.

Hong Kong’s CBDC development plan envisages it working along two development “tracks” – one addressing technical architecture issues and the other focusing on applications and integration with banks and retailers. The document anticipates that both efforts will extend beyond 2023, with implementation of the CBDC believed to be several years away.

Simon Sharwood

AWS adds the Cantonese option

Amazon Web Services announced last week that its text-to-speech service can speak Polly Cantonese.

The service, called Hiujin, is offered in 13 AWS Regions and offers full support for traditional Chinese characters and limited support for simplified characters. “Because English is one of the official languages ​​in Hong Kong and mixing English words with Cantonese is very common, we optimized performance on common English-Cantonese mixed sentences to make Hiujin sound more natural,” AWS explained. – Simon Sharwood

India’s chip and display stimulus set to rake in $25 billion, IT minister says

India’s IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar reportedly said India could expect $25 billion in inbound investment thanks to a $10 billion stimulus program boosting local semiconductor and panel display manufacturing.

An earlier agreement had the Indian government subsidize between 30 and 50 percent of the cost of chip and display building facilities. India has since removed the cap on incentives for display manufacturers.

Chandrasekhar did not name any companies that have committed to the program.

At the end of August, India set a goal of quadrupling local electronics manufacturing to $300 billion by 2026. At this annual sales rate, the Indian electronics industry would be larger than the famous IT services sector.

The IT minister also reportedly expressed his support for IT workers who have part-time jobs. A part-time job is a hot topic in India, with the latest development being the dismissal of 300 Wipro employees for breach of contract.

“If companies say that while you’re working for us, you shouldn’t think about a start-up or think about advising your friends, that’s doomed to fail,” said Chandrasekhar, who argued that employers don’t expect hiring can someone who is “entrepreneurial” and expects to display this trait only for their employer.

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Chinese companies are reportedly joining forces to counter US sanctions

Huawei is reportedly allying with other chipmakers sanctioned by the US to produce a “US-free” line of products.

The state-backed semiconductor fab Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (JHICC) is one company said to be interested in the alliance.

In other news

Our coverage of the APAC region last week included the news that a non-executive director of Shanghai-based chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) is the next in a line of “big fund” executives being investigated for alleged corruption gets… or maybe gets caught up in China’s politics.

Pacific Network Corp., its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC, and China Unicom (America) have been added to the list of US vendors of technology and communications equipment identified as posing a threat to national security. Huawei, ZTE Corporation, wireless communications provider Hytera, video surveillance systems Hikvision and Dahua, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, and telecoms companies China Mobile and China Telecom were already on the list.

Authorities in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, announced on Sunday that a raid uncovered evidence of cybercrime syndicates using forced labour, human trafficking and torture. Victims may have been forced to make spam calls and help with other cyber crimes. The raid was one of several across the country cracking down on the practice amid international pressure.

Australian telecom company Optus said it was the victim of a major cyber attack and data breach. A person at an underground cybercrime forum claims to have stolen account details describing 11.2 million customers. Optus was heavily criticized for the breach and a confused and inconsistent response.

The Philippine Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) expanded incentives for foreign outsourcers offering work-from-home opportunities to local employees.

Terraform Lab’s Do Kwon said he was not “on the run” after Singapore police issued a statement saying he was no longer in the city-state. Kwon is wanted in South Korea for allegedly violating the country’s capital markets law.

The founder of Beijing-backed commercial launch service provider CAS Space said China will be ready for space tourism by 2025 at a cost of between $280,000 and $400,000 per suborbital seat. ®

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