Aiming to optimize user experience for Indian customers, Pantum has launched a social media campaign on the Pantum India Facebook page to invite Indian users to list out their three most beloved features of Pantum M6502NW laser printer and M7102DW multi-function laser printer (MFP). Almost two thousand platform users shared and engaged with the post within days, and here is the round-up of their thoughts about which features have made the two printers the ideal printing solutions for enterprise and home office setup:
M6502NW Â– A COMPACT THREE-IN-ONE PRINTER SUITABLE FOR SMALL BUSINESS AND HOME
With Pantum one-step driver installation, users can enjoy the simplest way to instantlyÂ set upÂ and connect the printer to a computer with just one click. For the fans of Pantum M6502NW laser printer, the versatile connectivity and streamlined setup steps have made it a great working companion in both business and home scenarios. It features intelligent connection mode which enables users to automatically identify the nearby printers via Pantum App. Users can also connect the printer to multiple computersÂ through Wi-Fi or network.
Coming in at a cost-effective price, Pantum M6502NW’s powerful functionality packed in a compact design takes its place as the second most favourite feature cited by its users. Capable of scanning, photocopying and printing, the affordable three-in-one laser printer is designed to maximize productivity for the start-up and home office while offering a more space-saving printing solution.
The high-performance and efficiency of Pantum M6502NW have also opened up more possibilities for the users who have to work from home during the pandemic. With a monthly page volume of up to 2,000 pages and the rate of 22 pages per minute, the printer is more than capable of handling whatever you might need to throw at it.
M7102DWÂ Â– A PERFECT BUDGET MFPÂ PRINTER THAT CORPORATE USERS ARE LOOKING FOR
For corporate users who are looking for a budget multi-function laser printer (MFP) with maximum features, Pantum’s fans might tell them that M7102DWÂ is an unmissable choice. The all-in-one printer sports a clean and professional look and operates without noise and heating problem. But the most mentioned feature that has made this device hard to beat as an MFP printer at this price point is automatic duplex printing, also known as double-siding printing, an ideal function for the companies that wish to keep the operational costs down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For businesses demanding high-productivity and fast workflow, printers equipped with incredible print speed and convenient operation are highly sought-after, and M7102DWÂ has made its reputation among users for these two features. The MFP printer comes with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) that can scan up to 24 A4 pages per minutes andÂ copies 33 pages per minutes, meeting the daily printing need of medium and large enterprises.
“At this unprecedented time, we have seen a drastic shift to remote working, and the technology remains a critical assistant helping people adapt to this challenge. Through this campaign, we are so glad that our India users on Facebook once again reminded us that Pantum’s technology continues to make a difference for them in adjusting to this difficulty,” said Mr. Abhra Das, Pantum India Sales Head.
“With the pandemic continue to escalate around the world, we are striving to create more powerful and affordable printing solutions in a hope to enable everyone to easily set up their working and learning space at home during this global health crisis,” he added
Founded in 2010, Pantum is a printer manufacturer, with its business covering printers, printing materials, and printing solutions and services. In 2011, Pantum began its overseas expansion with current global footprints in more than 50 countries. With its patented technology, Pantum is committed to meeting the evolving printing needs by offering economical, user-friendly, and energy-efficient products as well as reliable printing solutions. Today, Pantum is now also bringing greater value to Indian customers through its cost-effective products, premium services.
TAIT’s Inspiring efforts during LockDown
India is one of the world’s worst hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic.The country’s lockdown began in late March and was subsequently extended several times. Stringent restrictions halted most economic activities. Mumbai being Financial Capital of India, Trade of Mumbai based IT partners too is hurt badly.
To mitigate psychological and the economic fallout, Trade Association of Information TechnologyPopularly known as TAIT across India, worked relentlessly for their members for every aspects of business. Entire TAIT Board, through various calls and messaging, kept motivating and encouraging members and coordinating amongst them for any of the issues that needs to be attended. This was backed by Conducting several webinars which were need of the time, and kept focus of members on converting this lockdown period into growth opportunity.
Such efforts by any association is unique and worth applause by entire trade. TAIT is running it’s 25th year of foundation and such rich traditions are cultivated by their leaders year after year. It would be
It would be Worthwhile to have a look at the List of leaders who so far served as TAIT presidents since its formation.
- Shri Atul Mehta (Founder President), 2. Shri Saurin Shah, 3. Shri Umang Mehta, 4. Shri Pravin Dhoka, 5. Late Shri AneesKhalfay, 6. Shri Ketan Patel, 7. Shri Girish Rathod, 8. Shri Champak Gurjar, 9. Shri Rushabh Shah, 10. Shri Parag Shah, 11. Shri K. Chaube And Currently being Presided by 12. Shri Samir Parekh
The best part is every subsequent team so far has time to time acknowledged the efforts and contribution of their seniors and take advise from them without any hesitation. This Noteworthy though non-documented tradition of seeking advise and standing with current team naturally takes any organization to greater heights.
During LockDown TAIT arranged session on“How to use LockDown time Sensibly for Growth.”This was conducted by Shri Satish Villait, who is also a TAIT Member and was Moderated by TAIT Gen. Secretary Shri Viren Bavishi, was very Well Attended by Members and some of the non-members too. It was a real dope to Convert threat of LockDown to Big Opportunity.
Also, arranged was Session on Tips and tricks for Cyber security. This was conducted by none other than well known Cyber Security Expert Shri Sachin Dedhia. This was initiated by TAIT Director Mr.Pravin Dhoka who was continuously and extensively engaged in relief work for needy under various banner, also spared time for TAIT Members activity. Was attended by Hundreds of Members and Non-Members from across the country and many requests were received for providing Recording of the Event. Which is Available on Youtube now.
While entire trade community was in dilemma of coping up with their business losses and on the other hand taking care of their staff’s wellbeing and also paying them necessary remuneration, it was necessary to also know the legal angle of Paying Salaries and other provisions during LockDown.
Without fail, TAIT arranged a Session on LabourLaws ,Focussing on Salaries during Lockdown
This was very well conducted by Eminent Labour Law Practitioner Shri Aniket Shelar. TAIT Treasurer Shri Samir Mehta initiated this activity, Which was again very Well Attended from across Maharashtra. Shri Aniket Shelar responded to every single query very patiently to the satisfaction of all the Members. This session too was moderated by TAIT Gen. Secretary Shri Viren Bavishi who set the agenda of the discussion and made sure that every doubts were covered including Salries, ESIC , Insurance for Employees and other provisions. As follow up actions, all new provisions or relaxations are being updated and informed to Members.
TAIT directors Shri Magan Gangani, even being at remote place, participated actively in various issues related to TAIT Members. Other Directors Shri Parag Shah and Shri Ajay Parekh contributed by contacting various members and attending to their requests. Director Shri Sunil Thariani guided members whenever necessary in taking care and coping up with any urgent matters for essential services. TAIT directors Shri K.Chaube and Shri Devendra Sayanicontinuously keeping in contact with members and developments around so as TAIT can update their members on necessary actions.
TAIT President Shri Samir Parekh, Who is deeply involved in so many social activities, more so during this troubled time, also made it a point to encourage all TAIT members to come forward if they face any challenge on anything and assured that together we will find solution, and can come over it. A True Business leader, Leading from front.
It was an Overall team efforts by TAIT par excellence, which made lockdown period very easy to sail through.
Personal Computers Today welcome feedback from other parts of India , and specially IT Associations who might have put efforts to help their members in all aspect of Business and Personal life.
Benq an internationally renowned provider of display technology devices, announces the launch of new Full HD Home Entertainment projector BenQ TH585 in India. As lifestyle changes and people spend more time at home, the urge of entertainment at home is booming, especially on a big screen. This new product from BenQ fulfils all kinds of needs at home, including great performance in high brightness rooms, demand for real life-like color accuracy for movies, the flexibility for set-up in different rooms, and connectivity with various entertainment devices.
Current times have brought families together with more free time to spend at home. With BenQ’s TH585 projector, you can enhance your moments of togetherness with a wide screen and powerful sound. Plan a movie night with family, binge watch your favourite show or schedule a match night with friends. Expanding BenQ’s home entertainment projector line, the TH585 projector comes equipped with 3500 lumens of high brightness for living room viewing with lights on, Full HD 1080p image quality, vivid 95% Rec.709 colour coverage, and powerful built-in 10-watt speaker to make the experience worth your time. Up to 15,000 hours lamp life with Lamp Save Mode, enables sustained entertainment over a long period of time.
Commenting on the announcement, Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India said “The launch comes, keeping in mind the current times when people realize the importance of entertainment at home. With limited and restricted options of outdoor entertainment, we enable people to enjoy at home. They have an opportunity to binge-watch their favourite shows, Bollywood blockbusters or schedule a match night with friends and family with a widescreen and powerful sound. With this announcement, BenQ aims to enhance the OTT content-viewing experience from the safety and comfort of home. We are delighted to introduce TH585 in India, and are confident that people will find the product easy to use at home”
Some key features of the product include:
· 1080P Resolution: 1080p Full HD image quality with 3500 ANSI lumens & 10,000:1 contrast ratio for ultimate entertainment experiences in well-lit environment
· Real Colors: 95% Rec. 709 color accuracy produces real colors thereby providing visually immersive entertainment for movies & binge watching
· Built-In Speaker: Powerful built-in 10-watt speaker makes the experience enriching while watching movies, series or sports
· Big Screen: The short-throw projection produces big 100″ images from just 3 meters
· Easy Installation: Take the show on the road. TH585 sets up in seconds to turn any space into your personal home theatre
· Multi-source connectivity: Whether it is a streaming device, gaming console, Blue-ray player, or Handheld device. Connect as you want
· Low Latency: 16ms low input lag and microsecond DMD fast response ensure ultra-smooth gaming experiences
· 15,000 Hours Lamp Life: LampSave mode extends projector lamp life up to 15,000 hours for long entertainment hours.
Coronavirus impact: Indian IT firms’ revenues may contract up to 3% in FY21, says ICRA
The profit margins for the IT sector will go down as the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed new projects’ off-take and deal conversion, while higher price discounts and lower economic growth across the world curtailed overall IT services spend, said ICRA
The Indian IT services sector is likely to see up to 3 per cent contraction in its revenues in the financial year 2020-21 as global spread of the coronavirus epidemic has resulted in simultaneous supply and demand shocks. In long term, the sectoral growth has been pegged between 5-8 per cent over the FY20-FY25 period, according to domestic rating agency ICRA.
“The (IT services) sector is expected to grow at 0 to minus 3 per cent in FY21 versus earlier expectation of 6-8 per cent,” ICRA said in its latest report.
ICRA expects supply and demand shocks to materially slow economic activity. The US and Eurozone, which generate more than 80 per cent of IT Services export revenues, are facing GDP contraction, leading to lower demand for IT Services, it said.
On the supply side, Indian IT services will face issues such as travel restrictions to developed countries as well as closure of offices/ work from home at various offshore development centers as well as onshore, thereby impacting movement of labour, the ratings agency said. “New projects to be commissioned will be delayed by minimum of 3-6 months while projects in pipeline will also face delays,” ICRA added.
“Our IT services growth forecast assumes gradual recovery during the second half of the year, however the evolution of the pandemic remains highly uncertain and the full extent of the economic costs remain unclear at this point of time,” ICRA report said.
ICRA, in its report, said that the profit margins for the IT sector will go down as the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed new projects’ off-take and deal conversion, while higher price discounts and lower economic growth across the world curtailed overall IT services spend.
“The margins for the Indian IT Services companies will continue to reflect the challenging operating environment characterised by continued pressure on commoditised IT services, wage inflation, higher onsite costs necessitated by visa curbs as well as lower discretionary spend by corporate,” the report said.
The agency expects the pace of new contract award to decline by at least 7-9 per cent in 2021, with manufacturing, travel, airlines, hospitality and retail to be the most adversely hit.
According to ICRA, the temporary suspension of issuance of fresh H-1B visas and L-1 visas (inter-company transfer) till December 2020 in view of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the US economy and employment will be mildly negative for the Indian IT services sector considering their high dependence on such visas.
As per the report, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s largest software exporter, is the only company that has announced results for the first quarter. The IT bellwether has reported a decline in both top and bottom line growth for the April-June period and hinted at a return to the pre-COVID levels only in late FY21.
ICRA said that large-size companies with diversified presence across sectors are likely to manage the headwinds better compared to mid-size companies which have moderately high proportion of revenues coming from few sectors, coupled with vendor consolidation exercise during COVID-19 benefitting such large size players.
5G smartphones to capture 50% of global market by 2023: IDC
NEW DELHI: Riding on a strong 5G push, the global smartphone market will return to a full recovery by 2022 and 5G smartphones are expected to capture 50 per cent of the global market by 2023, according to a new IDC report.
5G remains a priority for all smartphone OEMs despite the challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of consumer demand.
“While many of the top vendors have reduced their 2020 production plans to align with the market decline, we’ve seen most of the cuts focused on their 4G portfolios,” said Ryan Reith, programme vice president with IDC’s ‘Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers’.
Most channels in developed markets have set the expectation that the portfolios they carry will be dominated by 5G units by the end of 2020 leaving less shelf space for 4G.
“However, we still believe that consumer demand for 5G is very low and when that is combined with the economic headwinds facing the market, the pressure to drive down hardware and service fees associated with 5G will become increasingly important,” Reith said.
The worldwide smartphone market is forecast to decline 9.5 per cent (year over year) in 2020 with shipments totaling 1.2 billion units.
While the second quarter resulted in slightly better than expected numbers, the market was still down 17 per cent (year over year) with visible signs of economic concerns.
This supply-driven 5G push mixed with a poor economic climate will only accelerate the drop in 5G average selling prices (ASPs) in 2020 and beyond.
In the past quarter, China saw 43 per cent of 5G devices priced under $400.
IDC expects global 5G smartphone ASPs to hit $495 by 2023, which should eliminate most of the price concerns voiced by consumers in recent IDC surveys.
Prior to the pandemic, there was an expectation that total smartphone sales would return to growth in 2020.
That is obviously not going to happen. “Although we expect year-over-year growth of 9 per cent in 2021, that is only due to the large drop in 2020. The real recovery won’t happen until 2022 when smartphone volumes return to pre-COVID levels,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC.
Other elements beyond 5G will play a role in the market recovery, most notably the continued opportunity in developing markets.
“There continues to be a strong shift towards low- to mid-end 4G devices in developing regions, which make up over 80 per cent of smartphone volumes in these regions,” Popal said.
Trai works to rejig licensing regime to promote investments and innovation
NEW DELHI: India’s telecom regulator is aggressively working on reforming the licensing regime and would soon release a consultation paper to base its views on promoting innovation and attracting new investments, as a part of ease of doing business in the sector.
“Currently, we are working on reforming the licensing and regulatory regime to catalyse investments and innovation and promote ease of doing business. For this, the consultation paper will be released shortly,” Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), told ET.
The sector watchdog has previously recommended a slew of measures to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) such as the reduction in levies, and the upcoming initiative is aimed to further improve the industry’s health in line with the national policy unveiled in 2018.
Trai had earlier presented its views to the department on rationalisation of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), reduction of license fee, spectrum usage charge (SUC) and Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) contribution, and flexible payment options for auctioned spectrum.
“The authority through its letters has reiterated that DoT may favourably consider those recommendations as they would help in minimising the financial stress of the telecom companies,” the top official said.
In January 2015, the regulator had recommended that the component of the USO levy should be reduced from the present 5% to 3% of the AGR. With this reduction, the applicable uniform rate of licence fee would become 6%, from the present 8% of AGR, according to Trai, while the 3% of license fee (LF) that directly accrues to the government would not change.
“It will enable them (telcos) to offer quality services to consumers at affordable prices and facilitate digitisation of the economy as well as the proliferation of telecom services in rural and remote areas to achieve the mission of Digital India,” Sharma said.
The watchdog also recommended that the spectrum acquired through an auction or trading for which a telecom operator has paid the prescribed market value to the government should not be added to any existing spectrum holdings for determining the applicable slab rate.
Trai is also currently working on promoting broadband connectivity and enhancing speed on the back of strategies recognised in the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018, which it believes should be converted into the operational roadmap.
Following the national policy objectives, the sector watchdog has received a few references from the department that prompted it to set forth the guidelines for the transfer and merger of telecom licenses to simplify compliances and suggested strengthening the satellite communication technologies in India.
India at inflection point in digitisation journey, on cusp of a paradigm shift: Report
BENGALURU: India has undergone a digital revolution in the past decade and is now at an inflection point in its digitisation journey, a report said on Friday.
“India is on the cusp of a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions are being deployed for large-scale societal impact; getting the non tech elements right will be critical”, it said.
The report by Omidyar Network India, an investment firm focussed on social impact, and consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) stated that Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs) are the next frontier for ‘Digital India’.
India is at an inflection point in its digitisation journey. Over the course of a decade, the country has undergone a digital revolution – from modest beginnings of downloading forms and being able to view the status of an application online to paying taxes online and receiving welfare payments digitally, it said.
“And today, we stand at a new frontier India is leading the world in building shared digital infrastructure that can be leveraged by both government and private sector to unlock new solutions and enhance citizen experience,” the report said.
It describes this approach of designing technology infrastructure which can unlock economic and societal value, while minimising risks and possible harms, as ODEs.
ODEs are defined as: “open and secure Digital Platforms that enable a Community of actors to unlock transformative solutions for society, based on a robust Governance framework.”
It identifies three layers to help bring an ODE to life digital platforms comprising technology infrastructure and solutions built on top; community comprising builders, facilitators and end users; and a third layer of governance which consists of laws and rules and the accountable institutions that uphold them.
The ODE approach suggests that the government should focus on creating the digital commons; enable interoperability between siloed systems, so that innovators can build on top, by leveraging open source software, data, standards, licenses and APIs, the report said.
The recently announced National Digital Health Mission by the Prime Minister, which aims to create an integrated interoperable digital health platform for all health related services, was an example of the ODE approach, it said.
Efforts like India Stack, DIKSHA and the National Urban Innovation Stack have also adopted a similar approach in other sectors.
While the report estimates the potential impact of this approach, it also points out significant risks that may arise, such as the risks of data centralisation, which need to be addressed through a robust governance framework and safeguards that protect the citizens data.
It estimates that by 2030, ten high potential National ODEs (NODEs) in sectors like health, agriculture and justice can collectively create a new economic value of USD 500-plus billion and also generate USD 200-plus billion in savings.
The report builds on the ideas laid out in a whitepaper on NODEs which was published earlier this year for a public consultation, by the union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY).
J Satyanarayana, Advisor, National Digital Health Mission and former chairperson, UIDAI, said “we need to raise the bar” from systems-thinking to ecosystems-thinking.
“Digital ecosystems can evolve faster if we create the right environment, which includes open-standards based architecture, data policies, collaborative design, and innovation. Leveraging legacy systems can help adoption. Well-crafted ODEs will open up a huge world of opportunities for innovation & value added services”, he said.
India’s factory activity grows for first time in five months in August
India’s factory activity grew in August for the first time in five months as the easing of lockdown restrictions spurred a rebound in domestic demand, a private business survey showed on Tuesday, though firms continued to cut jobs.
But the bounce is unlikely to signal a quick turnaround in the Indian economy, which contracted at its steepest pace on record of 23.9% annually last quarter. It was expected to remain in recession this year, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 52.0 in August from 46.0 in July, above the 50-level separating growth from contraction for the first time since March.
“August data highlighted positive developments in the health of the Indian manufacturing sector, signalling moves towards a recovery from the second quarter downturn,” noted Shreeya Patel, an economist at IHS Markit.
“However, not all was positive in August, delivery times lengthened to another marked rate amid ongoing COVID-19 disruptions.”
While sub-indexes tracking overall demand and output rose to their highest levels since February and expanded for the first time in five months, foreign demand contracted for the sixth month in a row, its longest downturn since March 2009.
Also, firms cut their workforces for the fifth straight month, adding to the millions who have already lost their jobs due to coronavirus-related disruptions, which is spreading faster in India than anywhere else in the world.
Although input prices rose at the sharpest pace in nearly two years, firms have cut prices of their goods for four months to boost demand.
That is unlikely to ease overall inflation pressure, which has remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target of 4% since September 2019.
Quickening inflation led the central bank to unexpectedly keep interest rates on hold last month, but according to a Reuters survey it will cut its key rate by 25 basis points next quarter to 3.75% and then pause until at least early 2022.
Still, the factory survey showed optimism about the coming 12 months hit its highest in a year.
Bharti Infratel to go ahead with Indus Towers merger
Bharti Infratel Ltd (BHRI.NS) will go ahead with its long-delayed merger with Indus Towers, the telecom infrastructure firm said on Tuesday.
Infratel will be a majority shareholder in the merged entity with a likely stake of 68.6%, while London-listed Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L) will hold 28.2%, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Vodafone Idea Ltd (VODA.NS) will cash out its 11.15% stake for an approximated 40 billion rupees ($546.05 million), Infratel said.
Bharti Infratel had announced the deal with Indus Towers in 2018 to form a $14.6-billion telecom tower giant.
Nokia to set up robotics lab at Indian Institute of Science for research on 5G
Nokia Center of Excellence for Networked Robotics to host an interdisciplinary laboratory that will research technology solutions enabling socially relevant use cases across emergency management, agriculture and industrial automation.
Nokia has announced a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the country’s leading institute and university for research and higher education in science and engineering, to establish the Nokia Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Networked Robotics. The CoE will promote interdisciplinary research involving robotics, advanced communication technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop socially relevant use cases across areas like emergency management, agriculture and industrial automation. The centre will promote engagement and cooperation between academia, start-ups and industry ecosystem partners in research and development of use cases. This centre supports and aligns with the Government initiatives of Start-up India.
The Nokia CoE, a state-of-the-art network robotics laboratory, will be available to the IISc community and its ecosystem partners for advanced research projects involving designing next-generation networks and applications of Artificial Intelligence for solving pertinent social problems. Nokia will share its expertise in next-generation network innovations and leverage Nokia Bell Labs’ technical expertise in robot orchestration, robot network controller and human-robot interaction to aid the research and development of the end-to-end use case technology solutions. IISc will engage its cross-disciplinary faculty and researchers, and provide its in-house expertise in algorithms, drones and robotic systems.
Some of the use cases which the collaboration will explore include using drones for remote management of agricultural orchards to promote water conservation and avoid human contact with the pesticide. It will also focus on drones using a 5G-enabled wide-area network to gather situational information, helping first responders to save lives by quickly accessing the affected areas during disaster relief and drones for applications such as anticipating crop fires.
The collaboration will help IISc in capacity building and human resources development in the cutting-edge technology of robotics, 5G and autonomous systems. The research will also contribute to standards development and inform research.
The Nokia CoE at IISc will facilitate close interaction with all the stakeholders of the ecosystem for the exchange of ideas and symbiotic development of end-to-end use cases. It will also host symposia for academia and industry, and organize hackathons for startups.
Professor G Rangarajan, Director, IISc, said: “The ultimate relevance of technology is to find solutions to improve the quality of our lives. Collaboration with a global technology leader, Nokia, will go a long way in helping our students to gain knowledge and insights and make significant contributions to the development of innovative and societally relevant 5G use cases. This is a critical initiative and it will help us move closer to finding technology-powered solutions to enrich our lives.”
Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia, said: “Emerging technologies such as the 5G have potential to enable an entirely new array of use cases with a profound societal impact. With Nokia’s rich innovation heritage, we aim to engage with the bright and young minds at IISc to nurture and advance the latest technologies that can benefit communities. We are confident that it will lead to the development of groundbreaking use cases.”
Google warns Australians could lose free search services
Google warned on Monday that the Australian government’s plans to make digital giants pay for news content threatens users’ free services in Australia and could hand users’ data to media organizations.
The US-based company’s warning, contained in what it called an “Open letter to Australians,” comes a week before public consultations close on Australian draft laws that would make both Google and Facebook pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies.
“A proposed law … would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia,” Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Mel Silva wrote.
Google owns YouTube, a video-sharing platform. Both Google and Facebook have condemned the proposed legislation, which was released last month and aims to succeed where other countries have failed in making them compensate media businesses for news content.
Australian competition watchdog Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which drafted the laws, said Google’s letter “contains misinformation.” “Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so,” Sims said in a statement.
“Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so,” he added.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, the minister responsible for the consumer watchdog, said in a statement that the draft law “remains open for consultation, providing an opportunity for media companies and digital platforms to provide feedback” until Aug. 28.
Swinburne University senior lecturer on media Belinda Barnet described the Google letter as a “cynical exercise” designed to “scare Google users.” “I see no merit in any of the arguments,” she said.
“One of the most ironic arguments is that they’re going to have to hand over some data to news organizations — for example which article people have read and how long they may have read it for — and this coming from the world’s major privacy violator and certainly the world’s largest data aggregator is a bit rich,” Barnet added.
Google has been battling the Australian consumer watchdog on two fronts. Last month, the watchdog launched court action against Google for allegedly misleading account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges that Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that it collects about users’ internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
PUBG Video Game App Among 118 New Chinese Apps Banned
PUBG Mobile among Chinese Apps Blocked. There are close to 50 million active PUBG players in India, according to reports and the game clocks in some 13 million daily users.
PUBG MOBILE, a wildly popular online multiplayer shooting game, is among 118 Chinese apps blocked by the government Wednesday amid tension over fresh Chinese provocation in Ladakh. The move is in the interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity, defence and security, the government said in a statement.
Tencent’s PUBG Mobile ranks among the world’s top five smartphone games with over 734 million downloads. There are close to 50 million active PUBG players in India, according to reports and the game clocks in some 13 million daily users.
According to the IT Ministry, the Apps “are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
“This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” the statement said, adding that the move would safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.
PUBG or PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, features a Hunger Games-style competition in which 100 players face off with automatic weapons until there is only one left. Tencent introduced a stripped-down mobile version, which had the game skyrocketing, especially in the time of the coronavirus lockdown.
In a measure of PUBG’s huge popularity in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an event on exam stress last year, had remarked to a mother complaining about her teen: “Yeh PUBG-wala hai kya (Is he a PUBG player?)”.
In June, the government banned 59 mobile apps including Bytedance’s TikTok, Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat, also citing security concerns.
Explaining its latest move, the ministry said it had received many complaints about the misuse of some mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data to servers outside India.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” said the statement.
China has expressed strong objection to India’s decision to ban 118 more Chinese apps, spokesperson of the China’s Ministry of Commerce, Gao Feng said at a press briefing on Thursday according to China’s state-run daily Global Times.India on Wednesday banned 118 Chinese mobile apps, including PUBG, amid the standoff with China at the Line of Actual Control.”Banned mobile apps prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity, defense of India and public order”, the India’s Information Technology ministry notification said adding that it has received several complaints of misuse of these Apps for stealing and transmitting data of users in unauthorized way to servers located outside India. Earlier India had banned 59 Chinese apps including the popular TikTok and WeChat.
The home ministry’s cybercrime centre had also recommended blocking these “malicious apps”, the government said.
The statement referred to bipartisan concerns flagged in parliament and outside and a strong chorus to take strict action against Apps “that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens”.
The other Apps blocked include games, online payment services, dating sites and software to edit selfies.
The move comes a day after the government accused Chinese troops of provocative action again in the South Bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Lake. Chinese troops had made a similar attempt on August 31 but Indian soldiers were able to thwart them both times, the government said.
There have been a series of clashes and showdowns in Ladakh with China since May. In June, 20 soldiers died for the country in a clash at Galwan Valley. China also suffered casualties but has not revealed the number.