The year 2018 witnessed some significant developments for the TMT sector in India with some key changes to the personal data regime, e-commerce guidelines, drone regulations, commercial communications framework etc. This update summarizes some of the major developments in the past year and gives a brief overview of what can be expected in 2019.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

The year 2018 saw monumental changes in the regulation of personal data of Indian citizens.  The Supreme Court's ruling in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (Aadhaar Judgement), substantially curtailed the involvement of the private sector in the Aadhaar ecosystem and the first draft of the long-awaited Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, promises to overhaul our personal data protection regime.  Data localisation requirements were introduced by the Reserve Bank of India with respect to payment systems.

2018 also witnessed the introduction of much-needed regulations for drones, in alignment with the Government of India's stated aim of putting the country on the path to becoming a leader in this sector.  In the e-commerce space, the year closed out with the introduction of new requirements with respect to FDI in e-commerce entities.

Several new developments in the telecommunications space, such as the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations, 2018, and the National Digital Communications Policy along with the amendments to telecom licenses pursuant to it, will enable consumers to take advantage of a modern telecommunications infrastructure that puts them front and centre as a priority.  2018 also saw the implementation of the regime for Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipment, with a view to unify testing and certification processes that were required by different regulators.

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