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New Digital Personal Data Protection Bill Said to Be Introduced in Monsoon Session of Parliament

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Attorney General R Venkatramani told the bench that the new Bill on personal data protection is ready.

By ANI | Updated: 11 April 2023

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the government will table the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill in the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament in July. A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar fixed the matter for hearing in August.

Attorney General R Venkatramani, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the new Bill on personal data protection is ready and will be introduced in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

“The Bill is ready, it just has to be introduced in parliament in the monsoon session at the end of June, July,” the Attorney General said.

To this, the bench replied, “So, it will be under consideration if we list in July…August will be most practical.”

“We take note of the submission of the AG that a Bill which would cover many aspects of the… addresses all concerns will be tabled in the Monsoon Session in July 2023. Considering the circumstances, the matter is to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for a bench to be constituted preferably in the first week of August,” the bench stated in its order.

Counsels appearing for the petitioners requested that the top court list the case earlier as Bill has not been introduced in the Parliament for so long.

“Consultation is a long process… We want a good law to come,” the Attorney General replied.

The bench was hearing pleas filed by two students challenging WhatsApp’s 2021 Privacy Policy to share users’ data with parent company Facebook and others as a violation of their privacy and free speech.

Last year, the apex court had asked the government either place before the Parliament, the Bill, which addresses the privacy concerns of users and standards to be followed by WhatsApp or it will begin the final hearing in the case.

Earlier, the Centre had said Indian users cannot be discriminated against by other users of WhatsApp and informed the apex court that the government has already withdrawn the old Data Protection Bill and a new Bill will be introduced in the Parliament.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners, had told the bench that Indian users are deprived of their fundamental rights and the same platform operating in other countries, especially in the European Union, has higher standards of privacy and those standards are not prevalent in India.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, had told the bench that European countries have their own set of laws which are applied there and in India, the company follows the present law.

The Constitution bench was hearing the plea filed by two students — Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi — challenging the contract entered into between the two companies to provide access to calls, photographs, texts, videos and documents shared by users is a violation of their privacy and free speech.

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Australia Inc roiled by string of cyber attacks since late 2022

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By Reuters | Updated: 29 September 2023

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

OPTUS
Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

OPTUS
Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

WOOLWORTHS
Australia’s biggest grocer Woolworths Group Ltd (WOW.AX) said in October its majority-owned online retailer MyDeal identified that a “compromised user credential” was used to access its systems, exposing email addresses, phone numbers and delivery addresses of about 2.2 million customers.

FORCENET
Australia’s Assistant Minister For Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said on Oct. 31 that hackers targeted a communications platform used by the country’s military personnel and defence staff with a ransomware attack but that no data was compromised.

DAILOG
IT services consulting firm Dailog, another unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), faced a cyber attack that potentially affected 1,000 current and former employees and fewer than 20 client, the company said on Oct. 10.

AUSTRALIAN CLINICAL LABS
Medlab, a unit of Australian Clinical Labs Ltd (ACL.AX), one of the country’s largest pathology providers, suffered a breach in the same month that exposed data of about 223,000 patients.

MEDIBANK
Health insurer Medibank Private (MPL.AX), which covers about one-sixth of Australians, said in November that personal and significant amounts of health claims data of around 9.7 million of its current and former customers were compromised, forcing it to flag a hit to earnings and withdraw forecast for a key metric.

On June 20, Medibank confirmed that a file containing names and contact details of staff members had been compromised after its building manager faced a cybersecurity breach.

TELSTRA
Australia’s largest telecoms operator Telstra (TLS.AX) in early October suffered what it called a small data breach, which exposed data of about 30,000 current and former employees dating back to 2017.

On Dec. 11, Telstra said 132,000 customers were affected by an internal error which led to the disclosure of certain customer details.

BWX
Skin and hair care products maker BWX Limited said in November a malicious code was “unlawfully” entered onto one of its websites that may have compromised credit card numbers and expiry dates of about 2,500 customers.

TPG TELECOM
Australia’s No.2 internet service provider TPG Telecom (TPG.AX) said in December it had been notified of unauthorised access to a hosted exchange service that hosts email accounts of up to 15,000 business customers.

CBA
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) said on March 8 its Indonesian unit, PT Bank Commonwealth (PTBC), had been hit by a cyber incident involving unauthorised access of a web-based software application used for project management.

IPH
Days later, Australian intellectual property services provider IPH Ltd (IPH.AX) said it had detected unauthorised access to a portion of its IT environment, compromising information including administrative documents and some client documents.

LATITUDE
Australian digital payments and lending firm Latitude Group Holdings Ltd (LFS.AX) said on March 16 a hacker had stolen personal information held by two service providers, compromising about 103,000 identification documents and 225,000 customer records.

On April 11, the firm said it will not pay a ransom to the hackers as it saw no assurance that the payment would result in the return or destruction of the stolen data, and it did not want to reward criminal behaviour.

TECHNOLOGYONE
Australia’s TechnologyOne Ltd (TNE.AX) said on May 10 it had detected an unauthorised third-party access to its back-office systems, becoming the latest target in a series of cyber attacks that has bogged companies in the country since last year.

SMARTPAY
New Zealand-based Smartpay Holdings (SPY.NZ) disclosed a ransomware attack confirming the theft of information from customers in Australia and New Zealand, making it the latest victim in a slew of cyberattacks in the region.

SHELL
Shell Plc (SHEL.L) said on Sept 15 that it has identified a cybersecurity incident involving some employees who worked with its unit BG Group in Australia before the merger, becoming the latest victim of the MOVEit hack.

ENERGY ONE
Australian software supplier Energy One (EOL.AX) said on Sept. 29 it has not uncovered any evidence of malicious activity on its customer systems after the company identified a cyber incident in August. The company’s investigations found no evidence of compromise of personal information of its current and former employees, it said, adding that Energy One continues to securely trade.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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OpenAI, Jony Ive in talks to raise $1 billion from SoftBank for AI device venture, Financial Times reports

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Sept 28 (Reuters) – ChatGPT maker OpenAI is in advanced talks with former Apple designer Jony Ive and SoftBank’s (9984.T) Masayoshi Son to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence”, fuelled by more than $1 billion in funding from the Japanese conglomerate, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, has tapped Ive’s company LoveFrom to develop the ChatGPT creator’s first consumer device, the report said.

Discussions are said to be “serious” but no deal has been agreed on, and it could be several months before a venture is formally announced, the report said, adding that Son, Altman and Ive have discussed creating a company that would draw on talent and technology from their three groups.

SoftBank declined to comment on the FT report. OpenAI did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Ive and LoveFrom could not be reached for comment.

Tech website The Information first reported on Tuesday that Ive and Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device and that Softbank’s Son has also been involved in some aspects of the conversation.

Ive was a close creative collaborator with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He spent more than two decades at the tech giant and led the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s as well as the design of the iPhone.

SoftBank has been looking for deals in AI, including a potential investment in OpenAI, after the blockbuster listing of its Arm unit, the FT reported earlier this month, adding that Son was looking to invest tens of billions of dollars in the technology.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Leonardo’s air booking system resumes after cyberattack, Rostec says

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

MOSCOW, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Russian state conglomerate Rostec said on Thursday it had restored normal operations at its Leonardo air booking system following what it called a “massive cyberattack from abroad”.

“The cyberattack has been successfully repelled,” Rostec said in a statement.

It described the incident as a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack”, in which the attacker floods a server with internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services and sites.

Rostec gave no further information. The company controls much of Russia’s weapons industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Micron shares fall as demand recovery ‘off to slow start’

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By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Sept 28 (Reuters) – Micron Technology’s (MU.O) first-quarter loss forecast has triggered concerns of a sluggish recovery in the memory chip maker’s end-markets such as data centers, sending its shares down about 5% in premarket trading on Thursday.

The company on Wednesday forecast a bigger loss than analysts had expected and a return to positive gross margin in the second half of fiscal 2024, later than Wall Street expectations for the first half.

Micron has been under-utilizing its production capacity to match supply with a slump in demand for memory chips that started last year, but analysts have said excess inventory appears to have cleared in most of its end-markets such as smartphones and personal computers.

Low memory prices since early last year have also been hurting Micron’s profit margin.

“The recovery path is off to a slow start,” analysts at Evercore ISI said in a note.

Still, analysts were hopeful that the artificial intelligence (AI) boom should boost overall prospects for the company, which expects “several hundred million” dollars worth of revenue from its new high-bandwidth chips, meant for AI work, next year.

Micron is also working to become a supplier to AI chip giant Nvidia (NVDA.O), it said on Wednesday.

The company forecast adjusted loss per share of $1.07 for the current quarter, steeper than analysts’ estimates for a 95 cents-per-share loss.

Citigroup now expects Micron to post a loss of $1.79 per share in fiscal 2024, compared with its earlier estimate of a 99 cent profit.

A correction across the semiconductor industry had sent Micron’s shares roughly 50% lower last year. Those losses have largely been recouped, with its shares rising about 36% in 2023 as investors hoped for a recovery.

Micron’s price-to-earnings ratio for the trailing 12-month period is a negative 16.3, per data from LSEG.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Citadel ready to battle SEC over WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg reports

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Citadel ready to battle SEC over WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg reports
By Reuters | Updated: 27 September 2023

Sept 27 (Reuters) – Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel will take a tougher stance against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is willing to take the regulator to court over its WhatsApp probe, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter.

The SEC has collected thousands of staff messages from more than a dozen major investment companies, escalating its probe into Wall Street’s use of private messaging apps to discuss work, Reuters had reported earlier this week.

The firms targeted by the SEC include Carlyle Group (CG.O) , Apollo Global Management(APO.N), KKR & Co (KKR.N), TPG (TPG.O), and Blackstone(BX.N), as well as some hedge funds such as Citadel.

A spokesperson from the SEC declined to comment. Citadel did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The Miami-based firm would be the first to take the SEC to court over allegations of untracked communications, the report added, in contrast to almost two dozen banks that have chosen to pay hefty settlements over the last couple of years.

Reporting by Pritam Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Apple’s App Store Missing From List Mobile Storefronts Submitting Filings to China’s CAC Under New Rules

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A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority.
By Reuters | Updated: 27 September 2023

China’s cyberspace regulator released on Wednesday names of the first batch of mobile app stores that have completed filing business details to regulators, signalling it has begun to enforce new rules that expand its oversight of mobile apps.

A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Ant Group, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Apple’s App Store is not among the app stores on the list. Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

China’s cyberspace regulator released on Wednesday names of the first batch of mobile app stores that have completed filing business details to regulators, signalling it has begun to enforce new rules that expand its oversight of mobile apps.

A total of 26 app stores operated by companies including Tencent, Huawei, Ant Group, Baidu, Xiaomi and Samsung have submitted filings to the authority, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

Apple’s App Store is not among the app stores on the list. Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

In August this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published another notice requiring mobile apps to complete filing by the end of March.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that app stores operated by companies including Tencent and Huawei have started demanding apps on their app stores comply with the new rules.

Apple has not disclosed how its app store in China will comply with Beijing’s new rules. Experts said Apple’s compliance could lead to tens of thousands of apps being removed from Apple’s App Store in China.


© Thomson Reuters 2023

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