Welcome to our fortnightly newsletter, where our Editors put together handpicked stories from the world of tech law! You can find other issues here.
RBI Releases Discussion Paper on Guidelines for Payment Gateways and Payment Aggregators
The RBI on 17th September released a discussion paper on comprehensive guidelines for the activities of payment aggregators and payment gateway providers. It was acknowledged that payment aggregators and payment gateways form a crucial link in the flow of transactions and therefore need to be regulated. The RBI has suggested that these entities be governed by the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 which requires all ‘payment systems’ (as defined in the Act) to be authorised by the RBI. Additionally, different frameworks have been proposed for regulating payment aggregators and payment gateways, and full and direct regulation has been discussed in detail. This would entail payment aggregators and gateway services to fully comply with any guidelines issued by the RBI.
- Trisha Jalan, RBI proposes regulation, licensing of payment aggregators and gateways, Medianama (18 September 2019).
- Full regulation by RBI will require payment gateways, aggregators to be incorporated in India, The Hindu (18 September 2019).
- Shayan Ghosh, RBI could bring payment aggregators, gateways under direct supervision, livemint (18 September 2019).
- RBI paper on payment gateways: Maintain Rs. 100 crore net worth or wind up operations, moneycontrol, (19 September 2019).
Twitter removes more than ten thousand accounts across six countries
Political turmoil and instability in countries is majorly aggravated by the internet and various portals online. In light of this crisis, Twitter has decided to remove more than ten thousand accounts across six countries. These accounts were found to be actively spreading unrest in countries which were already in the wrath of a political turmoil. Twitter removed more than four thousand accounts in United Arab Emirates and China, around thousand in Ecuador, and more than two hundred in Spain.
Twitter has been making an active effort since the past one year to identify and remove accounts which were agitating sensitive issues in countries facing crisis. Online portals even have the power to sway the election processes in Democratic countries. In order to curb these impending threats, Twitter has been removing certain accounts on its platform. Even though thousands of new accounts are created everyday and several people have termed this removal process as arduous and never ending, these measures have to be taken.
- Trisha Jalan, Twitter removes 10,000 accounts from six countries for political information operations, Medianama (23 September 2019).
- Ingrid Lunder, Twitter discloses another 10,000 accounts suspended for fomenting political discord globally, Tech crunch (20 September, 2019).
- Abrar-al-Hiti, Twitter reportedly removes over 10,000 accounts that discourage voting, Cnet (2 November 2018).
- Christopher Bing, Twitter deletes over 10,000 accounts, that sought to discourage voting, Reuters (3 November 2018).
California passes AB 5 Bill requiring business to hire workers as employees
California legislators approved a landmark Bill on 11 September, 2019 that has the potential to disrupt the gig economy. The Bill known as “AB 5” requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees, which gives hundreds of thousands of California workers basic labour rights for the first time. Apart from its immediate impact, the move by the California legislature might set off a domino effect in New York, Washington State and Oregon, where stalled moves to reclassify drivers might witness renewed momentum. The move has been criticised by ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft which built their businesses on inexpensive labour, and the companies have warned that recognizing drivers as employees could destroy their businesses.
- Kate Conger and Noam Scheiber, California Bill Makes App-Based Companies Treat Workers as Employees, New York Times (11 September 2019).
- Manish Singh, California passes landmark bill that requires Uber and Lyft to treat their driver as employees, Tech Crunch (11 Septemer 2019).
- Rosie Perper, California passes landmark bill to treat contract workers as employees, sending it to the governor for signature, Business Insider (11 September 2019).
- Alexia Fernandez Campbell, California just passed a landmark law to regulate Uber and Lyft, Vox (18 September 2019).
- Andrew J. Hawkins, California just dropped a bomb on the gig economy — what’s next?, The Verge (September 18, 2019).
Microsoft Announces Change in Policies
Microsoft has stated that most large tech law companies, will change the manner in which content is moderated on their social media platforms, irrespective of the US Congress implementing new laws. Their Chief Legal Officer and President, Brad Smith has indicated that most companies will take initiative, irrespective of U.S. Lawmakers. The statement has been made in light of the recent Christchurch shootings which were livestreamed on most social media platforms. Further, major tech companies are responding to the changes in laws around the world. S. 230 of the U.S. Communications Decency Act, 1996 presently protects these companies from being sued on the basis of the content that is uploaded by its users. Microsoft itself has claimed that it has refused the government’s requests for facial recognition software due to the fear that it may be misused. The President of Microsoft has called for other tech companies as well to stop following the “if it’s legal, its acceptable approach” since companies need to start refusing selling their products to certain clients, irrespective of the legality of the action. However, ACLU, senior legislative council has accused Microsoft of continuing to sell software that can track faces and fear in real-time, leading to violation of privacy.
- Sheila Dang, Microsoft’s Brad Smith: Tech companies won’t wait for U.S. to act on social media laws, Reuters (13 September 2019).
- Alex Hern, Microsoft boss: tech firm.s must stop ‘if it’s legal, it’s acceptable’ approach, The Guardian (20 September 2019).
- Tom Simonite, Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Becomes a Civil Rights Crusader, MIT Technology Review (8 September 2019).
- Microsoft’s Brad Smith: Tech Companies Won’t Wait For U.S. To Act On Social Media Laws, Communications Today (15 September 2019).