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E-Commerce Policy: Centre To Regulate Cross-Border Flow Of Data

Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity.

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E-commerce
"India's data should be used for the country's development. Indian citizens and companies should get the economic benefits from the monetisation of data," said the draft policy released by the Commerce Ministry's Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Pixabay

The Centre on Saturday released the draft e-commerce policy which proposes the regulation of cross-border flow of data collected by the sector players in India.

The draft policy is now in the public domain for comments and feedback from the stakeholders.

“India’s data should be used for the country’s development. Indian citizens and companies should get the economic benefits from the monetisation of data,” said the draft policy released by the Commerce Ministry’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

All the data collected by the e-tailers in India and stored abroad should not be made available to other business entities outside the country, for any purpose, even with the customer consent, it said.

E-commerce
The data stored abroad “shall not be made available to a third party, for any purpose, even if the customer consents to it; all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities,” as per the policy. Pixabay

The data stored abroad “shall not be made available to a third party, for any purpose, even if the customer consents to it; all such data stored abroad shall not be made available to a foreign government, without the prior permission of Indian authorities,” as per the policy.

However, the draft policy provides the government the right to access the data of Indian consumers stored abroad.

“A request from Indian authorities to have access to all such data stored abroad, shall be complied with immediately.”

The government will also prescribe penal consequences if an online retailer violates the rules.

Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity.

Software and cloud computing services involving technology-related data flows, which have no personal or community implications; and multi-national companies moving data across borders, which is largely internal to the company and its ecosystem would not have to follow the regulations.

As per the policy, domestic industrial standards need to be formulated and facilitated for smart devices and IoT (Internet of Things) devices to meet the goals of the country including, consumer protection, secured transactions, enhanced interoperability and ease-of-user interface.

E-commerce
Restrictions on cross-border flows of data would not apply to data which is not collected in India, business-to-business (B2B) data sent to India as part of a commercial contract between a business entity located outside India and an Indian business entity. Pixabay

National standard-setting organisations will be involved in this exercise along with other stakeholders, it said.

Regarding the taxation part, it said that the current practice of not imposing custom duties on electronic transmissions must be reviewed in the light of the changing digital economy and the increased role that additive manufacturing is expected to take.

The FDI policy in e-commerce has been developed in order to ensure that the marketplace provides a level playing field to all participants, it said.

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“A situation of capital dumping is to be strongly discouraged.”

The new FDI norms, which prohibit the e-tailers from selling products of companies in which they have stakes, came into effect on February 1 despite both Amazon and Walmart seeking a six-month delay in their implementation. (IANS)

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Blockchain May Make E-Commerce Cheaper, Fairer

Besides Blockchain, their proposed solution involves "smart contracts" and game theory

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Blockchain, E-Commerce, Cheaper
A Blockchain-based system that allows buyers and sellers to interact directly can make e-commerce platform for digital goods "cheat proof" and the products cheaper. Pixabay

A Blockchain-based system that allows buyers and sellers to interact directly can make e-commerce platform for digital goods “cheat proof” and the products cheaper, says a study by India-origin researchers.

Blockchains allow multiple stakeholders to transact money or data virtually over linked peer-to-peer computer networks.

Besides Blockchain, their proposed solution involves “smart contracts” and game theory.

“Our scheme offers potentially a big improvement over the state-of-the-art in electronic commerce because it allows buyers and sellers to interact directly with each other without the need for third-party mediators of any kind,” said Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Professor at Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, the US.

Blockchain, E-Commerce, Cheaper
At present, the system works only with digital goods because physical products can’t have a cryptographic hash associated with them. Pixabay

“It uses a dual-deposit method, escrowing a safety deposit from both buyer and seller that is returned to them only when they behave honestly. And the verification of who is at fault and who is honest is done automatically by the smart contract,” added Krishnamachari.

This “smart contract” stores a good’s digital hash code or “digital fingerprint”.

Krishnamachari created an algorithm that runs on a programmable Blockchain as a “smart contract” with Aditya Asgaonkar, a recent undergraduate computer science alum at BITS Pilani

Here’s how the system might work:

An author wants to sell her digital book, but she hopes to avoid going through Amazon or some other company that takes a commission.

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Instead, she uses Asgaonkar’s and Krishnamachari’s blockchain-based solution and lists the book’s price at $20. An interested buyer contacts her.

To ensure an honest deal, both the buyer and seller agree to pony up a $10 deposit through a programmable Blockchain platform.

The author then sends the digital book to the buyer, who could only access it by making a verifiable payment for the correct amount.

If the transaction satisfies everybody, then both parties receive their deposits back.

Blockchain, E-Commerce, Cheaper
Blockchain-based system that allows buyers and sellers to interact directly can make e-commerce platform for digital goods “cheat proof”. Pixabay

But what if someone tries to cheat? What happens, for instance, if the seller intentionally sends the wrong e-book? What recourse does the aggrieved party have?

This is where the so-called smart contract kicks in.

The contract stores a good’s digital.

The buyer has access to that digital hash code before making a purchase. If they receive an item with a different hash code, however, they can dispute the transaction.

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In this instance, the seller would forfeit their deposit after the algorithm determined that they had attempted to cheat the buyer.

At present, the system works only with digital goods because physical products can’t have a cryptographic hash associated with them.

However, physical goods stored in a safe-box that can be opened with a digital password could be potentially transacted using their system.

Asgaonkar presented the researchers’ joint paper at the IEEE International Conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in Seoul, South Korea. (IANS)