Quarterly Newsletter Issue #02
October-December, 2022
Dear Readers,
Wishing you a Happy New Year 2023!

In this second edition of our InnovTech@CUTS newsletter, we bring to you a series of initiatives Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) has been taking to make the digital economy more inclusive. India’s push for Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), among others, is the right step towards achieving the inclusivity goal.

With India assuming the G-20 Presidency from December 01, 2022, we have an opportunity to showcase to the world the technological prowess India has with DPI and export these products abroad. Countries worldwide continue to show their interest in products like UPI, as was also shown in our meeting with the Hon'ble Ryan Straughn, Minister in the Finance Ministry of Barbados, in December 2022.

The Indian think-tank and civil society community is actively engaging in the discourse. CUTS is well-placed to contribute towards this dialogue from a consumer perspective. Rapid developments in DPI require robust stakeholder consultations to ensure inclusivity. We have constantly engaged with the government and recently submitted our response on Building Trust in the ONDC ecosystem.

Further, governance for India’s digital landscape seems to be taking a paradigm shift, with the Government of India coming up with a new draft Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022 and the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022. CUTS has provided comments to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to improve these bills.

Furthermore, we are working towards issues related to consumer perspectives on current Wi-Fi bands and their expectations on new bands, such as the 6GHz band. We have also actively engaged in capacity-building and held cyber-security training sessions for MSMEs and women entrepreneurs.

We hope that readers will find our work interesting and useful. We look forward to your generous feedback.
Pradeep S Mehta
Secretary General
CUTS International
Examining Wi-Fi 6E for India: An International Perspective
Vidushi Sinha and Aman Mishra
Wi-Fi provides high-speed connectivity across different use cases and is essential for the new universal and meaningful connectivity standard. While in India, Wi-Fi primarily operates on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, several countries have also started making the 6 GHz band available for licence-exempt use in their jurisdictions, paving the way for Wi-Fi 6E. 

The CUTS Report titled “Examining Wi-Fi 6E for India: An International Perspective” highlights some of the factors considered by these countries while making the 6 GHz band available and presents the suitability of licence-exempt use of 6 GHz in the Indian context.

Read more about the project here. Access the international comparative paper here.
Users’ Exposure and Reaction to Problematic Content in India
Sidharth Narayan and Prince Gupta
Social media platforms can potentially become a vehicle for inclusive and democratic free expression. However, their misuse by circulating allegedly incorrect, sensational, divisive, hateful, and misleading information (problematic content) causes significant harm to users. CUTS study explores this through a pan-India survey of over 2000 social media users. 

Among other things, the study finds that most users consider the source of the content as a factor for trusting it. Compared to users with low exposure, a greater percentage of users with high exposure to problematic content react to it. Further, most users want social media platforms to be held accountable for the spread of problematic content.

Read more about the project here. Access the findings here.

CUTS Comments on India’s draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022
Neelanjana Sharma, Prince Gupta and Asheef Iqubbal
CUTS CCIER, December 30, 2022

CUTS Comments on the draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022
Sidharth Narayan and Ritaja Das
CUTS CCIER, November 23, 2022

CUTS Comments on the Consultation Paper by Open Network for Digital Commerce on “Building Trust in the ONDC Network”
Arshiya Chaturvedi
CUTS CCIER, November 22, 2022

CUTS Response on Reserve Bank of India’s Discussion Paper on Charges in Payments Systems
CUTS CCIER, October 14, 2022

  • Vidushi Sinha participated in Roundtable Discussion on Intermediary Liability and the Grievance Appellate Committees organised by the Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University Delhi on December 08, 2022.
  • Amol Kulkarni was one of the speakers at the 2nd India Spectrum Management Conference in New Delhi on December 07, 2022.
  • Sidharth Narayan and Asheef Iqubbal participated in the Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership Roundtable in New Delhi on November 18, 2022.
CyberSafe East India: Workshops on Cyber Security for MSMEs and Women Entrepreneurs
West Bengal and Sikkim, November 07 & 09, 2022
Technology, business, and cash transactions have shifted to digital platforms. In India, the rapid adoption of digital technologies by consumers has attracted Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt digital technologies. As the trend of using digital platforms is increasing, incidents like cyber-attacks are also increasing at an alarming rate. 

Keeping this in mind, CUTS Calcutta Resource Centre is implementing a series of cyber security awareness and capacity-building workshops for MSMEs and women entrepreneurs in North-East India. The U.S. Consulate supports this initiative in Kolkata. CUTS has collaborated with the Industries, MSME Departments of the Governments of West Bengal and Sikkim, the local Chamber of Commerce, business associations, NGOs and local cyber cells were also engaged in this initiative. To ensure a good training programme, CUTS has engaged the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC, Patna).

More details are here.

Digital activists challenge Uganda's harsh new internet law
Rodney Muhumuza, ABC News
Technology exchange among nations crucial in fighting climate change: PM Modi
The Economic Times