From-Harbour-to-Hardships-Understanding-the-Information-Technology-Intermediary-Guidelines-and-Digital-Media-Ethics-Code-Rules-2021-Part-III

This is in continuation to the series analysing the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“2021 Rules”). In the first part, we traced the evolution of intermediary liability and the key changes brought about by the 2021 Rules. In the second part, we discussed the consequences of non-compliance by intermediaries which, inter alia, disentitle them from claiming the safe harbour protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“Act”).


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Delhi Court attempts to decode the cryptic case of cryptocurrencies in India

INTRODUCTION:

Cryptocurrencies, worryingly unregulated, decentralised virtual currencies, are steadily gaining traction in the Indian transaction landscape. With digitalisation and smart contracts becoming the new norm (especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic), global trade in cryptocurrencies has increased by leaps and bounds. However, one cannot ignore the unprecedented rise in cybercrimes across the globe, relatable to virtual currencies. The expansion of the cryptocurrency landscape poses various challenges in the form of regulatory, legal, and operational risks. Whilst appropriate measures to regulate cryptocurrencies are the need of the hour, the Indian judiciary has been rather proactive in its dealing with such cryptic virtual currencies.


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Safe Harbour Protection for E-Commerce platforms

In recent times, the debate around safe harbour protection has grabbed media attention on account of the recently notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“2021 Intermediary Rules), and the ensuing spat between the Government and social media heavyweights like Twitter.


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Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Part I of this article explores the current Indian regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry and recommendations for AML/CFT compliance in respect of virtual asssets.

Indian legal framework

The virtual asset industry has had a somewhat difficult time in India, with the RBI banning any regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business, dealing in digital currencies, given the risks involved in such transactions. The term ‘services’ included maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges, dealing with them and transferring or receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs or facilitating the same thereof.
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part II

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Nothing is permanent but change.

                                                                            – Heraclitus

Part I of this article explores the anti-money laundering risks associated with virtual assets and provides a glance at the current international regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry.

Technology has evolved to a point where we have to redefine what we assume would be easy to legally categorise. The evolution of virtual assets is such an example — with a dynamic categorisation of virtual assets, as also securities such as NFTs (a Non-Fungible Token, which is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. Examples include: photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files) and DeFi (Decentralised Finance is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks to offer traditional financial instruments, and instead utilises smart contracts on blockchains, example: Ethereum).
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part I

From Harbour to Hardships - Understanding the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 Part II

This is in continuation of the series analysing the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“2021 Rules”) and their impact. In the first part, we traced the evolution of intermediary liability and the key changes brought about by the 2021 Rules.

In this part, we attempt to identify the implications of the 2021 Rules on intermediaries, mainly focussing on the consequences of non-compliance which could entail criminal liability, and aspects relevant to investigative authorities.
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New disclosure obligation in Financial Statements for companies holding cryptocurrencies - Are Regulators testing waters?

Context

India is witnessing a rapid increase in the number of crypto exchanges as well as cryptocurrency transactions. As per publicly available data, the average daily cryptocurrency trading volumes across the top Indian exchanges have grown nearly 500% from March 2020 to December 2020. Globally, countries such as Switzerland, Singapore and the US have been pro-active in undertaking cryptocurrency transactions, and simultaneously creating a robust regulatory framework for the same. In fact, investors from these countries have also been investing in Indian cryptocurrency exchanges.
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From Harbour to Hardships Understanding the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules 2021 - Part I

Evolution of intermediary liability in India

Ever since the enactment of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“the IT Act”), the treatment of intermediary liability[1] has been pendulous. The recent Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“2021 Rules”), bring about the most significant changes for intermediaries in terms of increasing due diligence obligations and liability in cases of non-compliance.
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FDI IN DIGITAL MEDIA - A CASE FOR FURTHER CLARIFICATION

 

The Government of India recently issued a clarification on FDI in digital media sector. The pre-cursor to this clarification is Press Note 4 of 2019 (“Press Note 4”) that allowed up to 26% FDI in entities engaged in uploading/ streaming of news and current affairs through digital media platforms under the Government approval route, similar to the print media sector. We have analysed the implications of the recent clarifications on entities that are engaged in the digital media sector.

Press Note 4 did not provide a definition of “Digital Media” and accordingly there were concerns regarding entities that fall within its ambit. The Government of India therefore issued the “Clarification on FDI Policy for uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through Digital Media” on October 16, 2020 (“Clarification”). The Clarification inter alia provides that Press Note 4 shall apply to the following types of entities registered or located in India:
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Digital Transformation in Law - Technology

The era of the digital revolution has put technology and its use at the forefront. Technology is now recognised as an enabler, necessary for growth and the way forward. The earliest use of LegalTech can be traced to eDiscovery which also was not the easiest to adopt in early days but has now become a routine. Today we have a number of good technologies making way in document review, contract management, abstraction and automation, data analytics in legal research and comprehending client engagements and invoices, electronic signatures, dissecting practices and introducing process workflows through a case management system, transcription services and no code platforms to create new digital service models that strengthen client relationships.
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