China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said today it’s launching a probe into the planned merger of Didi Chuxing with Uber’s China unit. A ministry spokesperson tells Reuters that it’s due to anti-monopoly concerns about the US$35 billion tech company that will result from the merger and which will totally dominate car-hailing and taxi-booking in the China market.
BD Live — CHINA is taking a more inclusive tack in instituting cybersecurity standards for foreign technology companies, allowing them to join a key government committee in an effort to ease foreign concerns over the controls. The committee under the government’s powerful cyberspace administration is in charge of defining cybersecurity standards.
Tech in Asia —- InMobi will pay a US$950,000 fine to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in response to a complaint filed against it on Wednesday. According to the complaint, the adtech startup has been collecting cellphone users’ location data without their consent. InMobi ties up with apps to get access to user information. It then feeds that info back into its database to help companies send out more relevant ads.
Computer Weekly — Singapore’s minister for communications and information Yaacob Ibrahim told lawmakers that the country needs updated cyber laws, and that a new Cyber Security Bill will be tabled in Parliament in 2017. He said the proposed bill will ensure that operators take proactive steps to secure critical information infrastructure, as well as report incidents.
Telecom Asia — India’s telecoms watchdog has proposed regulating the cloud computing segment due to the increasing uptake of cloud services among businesses. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has invited comments from stakeholders over the proposal to regulate the cloud sector.
BBC — India has rejected Google’s plans to collect images for its Street View service in the country after objections from security agencies. Officials told the BBC there were concerns that the service would compromise the country’s security. Google Street View collects high definition images to give its users 360 degree views of streets, tourist spots, hills and rivers.
Japan Today — Japan has passed a law regulating virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicenter of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange. Once one of the largest, most established exchanges for the cryptocurrency, MtGox collapsed in 2014 after a suspected theft worth nearly half a billion dollars, which hammered the digital currency’s reputation.
Tech in Asia — If you’re stuck in a new city, want to find a street, but can’t speak the local language, your smartphone can come in really handy. Driving a car and can’t stop every few meters to ask for directions? Your GPS device becomes a savior. And if you’re stuck in a mountain pass, with nobody around to ask, a GPS-enabled map might save your life.
Channel News Asia — HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s securities regulator said that Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd breached takeover rules in the purchase of a healthcare firm in 2014 because it also bought a company owned by the brother of the healthcare firm’s vice chairman on “favourable terms.” Alibaba agreed to buy a stake in CITIC 21CN, now known as Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd, for US$170 million two years ago.
Enterprise Innovation — Facebook reported more government requests for user data and content restrictions pursuant to local law in the second half of 2015. The report posted in the Facebook newsroom by Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel, stated that government requests for account data increased by 13 percent, from 41,214 requests to 46,763.
Enterprise Innovation — A Forrester study commissioned by Microsoft revealed vastly different levels of maturity in cloud understanding and adoption among financial services institutions (FSIs) in Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific. The report titled ‘Cloud is Critical to Digital Transformation in the Asia Pacific Financial Sector’ analyzed the impact of regulatory compliance, security and privacy, and reliability concerns on current and future cloud initiatives.
Tech Crunch — Facebook appears to have been blocked in Vietnam as a part of a government-imposed crackdown on social media, amid public protests over an environmental disaster attributed to toxic discharges from a steel complex built by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics. Dissidents are blaming wastewater from the steel plant for a mass fish death at aquatic farms and in waters off the country’s central provinces.
Tech in Asia — Dropbox, Google Drive, and other international cloud storage providers have long been blocked in China – and now a number of domestic storage services are facing a similar fate. Vdisk, KuaiPan, and UC net disk – run by Sina, Xunlei, and Alibaba, respectively – have filled the gap left by the government’s censoring of international options, but now each one is partially or fully closing down.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: Cold response from MNCs like Google to India’s security concerns is seen as a prime reason for the proposed legislation to regulate mapping of the country, a move that critics call “return of the Licence Raj” and “digital nationalism”. A draft of Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, released last week seeking public comments, says anyone mapping India by a satellite or aerial platform will need a licence from a government “security vetting authority”.
Mashable — The Indian government has proposed a bill that will require companies like Google to get a license to offer and publish maps in the country. If it becomes a law, then anyone who create maps ‘incorrectly’ can be fined millions of rupees or imprisoned. The draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, 2016, says that “no person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form”.
Telecom Asia — Thailand’s military cabinet has approved a new frequency act that puts the formerly independent regulator under the control of the new digital economy commission while the selection process now goes through the executive branch. The new National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act calls for a single seven-member board (down from two five-member boards and one chair, one for broadcasting and one for telecommunications).
Tech in Asia — Remember the day Indonesia’s capital was practically held hostage by out-of-control taxi drivers? A violent street protest on March 22 in Jakarta was the climax of a series of demonstrations staged by Indonesia’s taxi industry in an attempt to get apps like Uber and Grab banned.
Times of India — BEIJING: Apple confirmed Friday its iTunes Movies and iBooks service have become unavailable in China, after reports authorities ordered them to be taken offline. “We hope to make books and movies available again to our customers in China as soon as possible,” a spokeswoman for Apple, the US technology giant, said in a statement.
IT News — Australia’s competition watchdog is “concerned” about the level of Telstra’s involvement in the national broadband network rollout and its effect on competition in the telco sector. Just hours after the telco and NBN announced a $1.6 billion deal for the rollout of Telstra’s hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) network, the ACCC said it was worried the telco could potentially receive a competitive advantage from its various NBN contracts.
Tech in Asia — As seems to be his wont from time to time, Mark Zuckerberg has been in the China news again of late, doing things like running around in Beijing’s cancerous air, and meeting with China’s head of propaganda. The goal, as far as anyone can tell, is to try to convince Chinese officials to let Facebook into the country.
Japan Times — HONG KONG – China’s government is moving to tighten its grip over the Internet as it rolls out draft rules that will effectively ban Web domains not approved by local authorities, including possibly the most widely used .com and .org addresses.
Tech in Asia — Citizens of mainland China unexpectedly found themselves with unfettered access to Google search late last night, commencing a golden age of censorship-free searching that lasted all of 105 minutes. For the duration of the film Edward Scissorhands, lasting from 11:30pm on Sunday to 1:15am on Monday morning, Google’s search – but not other services like Gmail or Youtube – was unblocked, according to the South China Morning Post.
IT News — Australian businesses say they are not sold on the government’s proposed mandatory data breach notification scheme, with some even going so far as to call for it to be abandoned. Late last year the government released an exposure draft of its long-awaited bill for the scheme, outlining what it considers a serious breach and the steps an organisation must take in response to one.
Times of India — BEIJING: Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met China’s propaganda tsar Liu Yunshan in Beijing on Saturday as part of a charm offensive in one of the few markets where the social network cannot be accessed. The rare meeting, reported by China’s state news agency Xinhua, suggests warming relations between Facebook and the Chinese government, even as Beijing steps up censorship of and control over the internet.
Asia Times — Fifty years after the tumultuous upheaval known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, China appears on the verge a new information age battle between communist party hardliners and reformers. Unlike Mao Zedong’s rampaging zealots of that era, China’s new Red Guards are lurking in cyberspace, promoting a hardline communist agenda against party reformers who appear to favor less rigid media and other controls and who seem to be questioning the supremacy of the all-powerful Communist Party of China.
Straits Times — Every time he gestured, be it extending his arms or stressing a point with his palm, the photographers in the room went wild. Under the resplendent, chandelier-studded roof of the Golden Hall at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had the attention of hundreds of local and foreign journalists for two hours.
Independent — A Cambodian university student has been jailed for 18 months for asking the public to join his “colour revolution” and inciting crimes in an anti-government Facebook post. The man, identified as 24-year-old Kong Raya, is the first Cambodian convicted of using social media to attack Prime Minister’s Hun Sen’s government, who has issued warnings that online critics could be traced and arrested in matter of hours.
Torrent Freak — Solarmovie.ph will become the first piracy website to be blocked on copyright grounds by Internet service providers in Singapore. Legislation targeting pirate sites was introduced in 2014 but progress to lock off the first domain has been slow. The MPA praised the move as positive for creators and helpful in preventing the spread of malware.
Tech in Asia — Independent media outlets like this blog are often critical of China’s internet policy, which is often characterized by tight control and outright censorship. Just a few days ago, for example, one of China’s most popular microbloggers was banned from posting for life after going a bit too far in his criticism of the government. But that’s much ado about nothing, according to China’s government-run media outlets. China’s internet policy is great!
Times of India — Qualcomm has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges it violated US anti-bribery laws by hiring relatives of Chinese officials to obtain business, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday. The Chinese officials related to Qualcomm’s new hires were deciding whether to select the company’s mobile technology products amid growing competition in the global telecommunications market, the SEC said.