2019 was a busy year for this sector as the Government of India introduced several regulatory measures and policy initiatives which is likely to have a long-term impact on the sector. This update summarises some of the major developments in the past year and gives a brief overview of what can be expected in 2020.

THE YEAR THAT WAS

The year 2019 saw many changes in terms of regulatory and legislative measures by the Government as well as judgments by the Supreme Court. The introduction of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 before Parliament was a watershed moment in the history of privacy rights in India. Further, as a direct result of the Supreme Court's ruling on Aadhaar, the Government introduced changes to the legislative scheme surrounding Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (Aadhaar Act) to put in place more robust mechanisms for identity verification. Additionally, the Government rolled out regulatory initiatives relating to e-commerce, regulation of information technology intermediaries, and consumer protection.

The year 2019 also saw the introduction of a foreign direct investment (FDI) cap of 26% for circulation of news and current affairs through digital media. While it is not yet clear how this will affect news aggregators and intermediaries, it nevertheless is an important development in the regulation of online news media by the Government.

Government bodies also undertook consultation processes in various fields such as artificial intelligence, non-personal data, provision of cloud services, and other service providers (OSP) whose potential impact remains to be seen. The involvement of stakeholders in formulating recommendations on these subjects is a step forward in policymaking in the technology and telecommunication sector in India.

Technology, Media & Telecommunications Law: Legal Milestones in 2019 and a Look Ahead

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