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TikTok monitored device data in violation of Google policies: Report

While it is not clear why TikTok used the tactic to collect device data, it could be linked with its advertising goals.

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San Francisco, Aug 12 : TikTok secretly collected device data for months via its Android app using a technique that Google prohibits developers from using without consent of users, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Although the practice came to an end in November, the finding could add to the woes of the short video-sharing platform which is facing threat of a ban in the US over its data protection practices.

TikTok’s Android app tracked MAC (media access control) addresses — unique hardware identifiers for networked devices — for at least 15 months over 2018-19, according to the WSJ report on Tuesday.

TikTok managed to hide the tactic through an “unusual added layer of encryption”, according to the report.

The short video-sharing platform owned by Chinese unicorn ByteDance reportedly took advantage of a security hole to collect the data.

It is not known if iOS users also fell prey to such tactics which were banned several years ago by both Google and Apple.

When the Journal reached for a reaction, TikTok said that MAC addresses are not collected by the current version of the app.

While it is not clear why TikTok used the tactic to collect device data, it could be linked with its advertising goals.

While Google did not comment on the loophole, it said that it was investigating the finding.

The news of TikTok collecting MAC addresses of Android users comes after iOS 14 revealed that the app was accessing iPhone clipboards more than necessary, Android Authority reported.

The finding comes in the same month the US President issued an executive order, prohibiting transactions by any entity in the country with its Chinese owner within 45 day.

TikTok was among the 59 apps that India banned in June.

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SEBI amends norms for delisting of subsidiaries, debenture trustees

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Mumbai, Sep 29 : The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Tuesday decided to amend regulations for delisting of equity shares, stipulating that the shares of the parent listed company and the listed subsidiary entity should be listed for at least three years and should not be suspended at the time of the delisting process.

Further, the subsidiary should have been a listed subsidiary of the listed holding entity for at least three preceding years.

The SEBI Board, in its meeting on Tuesday, also decided to grant exemption from the Reverse Book Building process (RBB) for delisting of listed subsidiaries, where it becomes the wholly-owned subsidiary of the listed parent pursuant to a scheme of arrangement.

“To be eligible to take this route, the listed holding company and the listed subsidiary should be in the same line of business. Both the companies should be compliant with the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015, specifically, the regulations (no. 11, 37 and 94) pertaining to processing of the schemes of arrangement,” a SEBI statement said.

Further, to protect the interests of investors in the listed subsidiary, it has been stipulated that the votes cast by public shareholders of the listed subsidiary in favour of the proposal will be at least two times the number of votes cast against it in terms of the present delisting regulations.

The Board also decided to bring amendments to the SEBI (Debenture Trustee) Regulations, 1993, the SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities) Regulations, 2008 and the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements), 2015.

It approved the proposal of strengthening the role of debenture trustees so as to protect the interest of debenture holders. The debenture trustees shall exercise independent due diligence of the assets on which charge is being created.

“The DT(s) shall take required action by convening the meeting of debenture holders for enforcement of security, joining the inter-creditor agreement (under the framework specified by the RBI), etc,” the statement said.

Debenture trustees shall also carry out continuous monitoring of the asset cover, including obtaining mandatory certificate from the statutory auditor on half-yearly basis.

Further, the issuer company shall create a recovery expense fund at the time of issuance of debt securities that may be utilised by debenture trustees in the event of default, for taking appropriate legal action to enforce the security.

The board of the securities market regulator also approved the amendment of MF Regulations to introduce a Code of Conduct for Fund Managers including Chief Investment Officers and Dealers of AMCs.

Further, the Chief Executive Officer will be responsible to ensure that the Code of Conduct is followed by all such officers.

The Board also approved an amendment to MF Regulations to enable Asset Management Companies to become a self-clearing member of the recognised Clearing Corporations to clear and settle trades in the debt segment of recognised stock exchanges, on behalf of its mutual fund schemes.

It has also approved the proposal to facilitate setting up of a Limited Purpose Repo Clearing Corporation.

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CBDT clarifies on 1% TDS on e-commerce transactions

It would also not apply to transactions in electricity, renewable energy certificates and energy saving certificates traded through power exchanges, circular added.

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New Delhi, Sep 29 : Providing clarification on the 1 per cent tax deducted at source (TDS) on e-commerce transactions, the CBDT on Tuesday said that that the payment gateway will not be required to deduct the tax under section 194-0 of the Income-Tax Act on a transaction, if the tax has been deducted by the ecommerce operator under the section concerned of the Act, on the same transaction.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday issued guidelines for applicability of TCS (tax collected at source) provision which requires an e-commerce operator to deduct 1 per cent tax on sale of goods and services with effect from October 1.

The CBDT circular noted that in e-commerce transactions, the payments are generally facilitated by payment gateways.

It is represented that in these transactions, there may be applicability of section 194-0 twice, once on e-commerce operator who is facilitating the sale of goods or provision of services or both and once on payment gateway who also happen to qualify as e-commerce operator for facilitating service.

“In order to remove this difficulty, it is provided that the payment gateway will not be required to deduct tax under section 194-0 of the Act on a transaction, if the tax has been deducted by the ecommerce operator under section 194-0 of the Act, on the same transaction,” it said.

Elucidating its implementation, the circular said: “If ‘XYZ’ has deducted tax under section 194-0 on one lakh rupees, ‘ABC’ will not be required to deduct tax under section 194-0 of the Act on the same transaction. To facilitate proper implementation, ‘ABC’ may take an undertaking from ‘XYZ’ regarding deduction of tax.”

The CBDT also said that the new introduced TCS provisions would not apply to transactions in securities and commodities which are traded through recognised stock exchanges or cleared and settled by recognised clearing corporation, including recognised stock exchanges or recognised clearing corporation located in International Financial Service Centre.

It would also not apply to transactions in electricity, renewable energy certificates and energy saving certificates traded through power exchanges, circular added.

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Airtel narrowing gap with Jio on 4G in India: Report

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

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New Delhi: Airtel has come closer to challenging Reliance Jio which continues to reign supreme on 4G availability and 4G coverage experience in India, says a new report by mobile analytics company Opensignal.

While the average proportion of time that Jio users spent connected to 4G has increased by 0.5 of a percentage point since the last report to reach an impressive 98.7 per cent, Airtel saw its score increase by 1.1 percentage points.

“As a consequence, Jio’s lead has dropped from 3.7 percentage points to 3.1,” said the report.

In regional analysis of 49 cities, Airtel came close to challenging Jio’s dominance on 4G availability in a majority of the cities although Jio continued to win almost all awards, said the report.

While Jio won in 48 cities outright it drew for the first place with Airtel in Coimbatore.

However, for the second report in a row, Airtel has won four of the awards outright — video experience, games experience, voice app experience and download Speed experience, while ownership of the upload speed experience award smoothly passed from Vodafone to Vi.

This is the first report in which Opensignal treated Vodafone and Idea as a single operator — Vi — in line with the combined operator’s new branding that was announced on September 7.

For the report, Opensignal examined the mobile network experience of the four main mobile network operators in India: Airtel, BSNL, Jio and Vi, over a period of 90 days beginning May 1 to see how they fared, and further delved deeper into 49 of India’s largest cities, comparing the experience users received on these four operators.

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