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Effective consumer broadband labels the need of the hour

Medianama, August 10, 2017

Pradeep S. Mehta and T. V. Ramachandran

The year 2016 saw India dethroning USA to become the second largest user of smartphones in the world which gave a big boost to mobile broadband. With increasing competition and upgradation to 4G, prices for mobile broadband services have crashed to an all-time low. With nearly half a billion telecom subscribers consuming over 1.00 gigabyte per month now, this is nothing short of an amazing achievement.

However, on the flip side, when Digital India is the mantra, the pride in this is tarnished by the poor Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE), badly affecting both consumers and the economy. Service providers have to gear up to deal with this in a transparent manner.

To read more, please visit:
https://goo.gl/4CQ1oP

 

Why high profile data breaches are not the only concern for consumers in the digital economy

Organisations in countries all over the world were affected by a major cyberattack last Friday (12 May 2017) and over the weekend when the Wannacry virus struck. Amanda Long, Director General, Consumers International, talks about what the virus means for consumer organisations.

This was different from the high profile security breaches that we are familiar with, like Ashley Madison or Yahoo. In these cases, people’s personal data was targeted in the attack, which can result in serious consequences: credit card fraud, identify theft as well as distress at private information being made public. 

The Wannacry attack was different because it didn’t directly target consumers’ personal data, instead it was able to shut down critical parts of companies or organisations’ IT systems and only open them up again once a ransom was paid.  
Yet the consequences could be just as serious. According to the BBC, an estimated 47 NHS trusts in England reported problems at hospitals and 13 NHS organisations in Scotland were affected as operations were cancelled, ambulances were diverted from A&E departments and people had problems obtaining medicine prescriptions. 

Thankfully this time, the immediate consumer impacts in other countries appear less severe: train ticketing unavailable in parts of Germany or public services in some parts of China. However, our member in Oman reported areas of the internet were shut down as a precautionary measure.  

It's a stark reminder of the range of security-related risks that citizens and consumers face in an increasingly connected digital world. Although we may not always be aware of it, digital systems under pin the financial, health, transport and communications systems that millions of consumers rely on.  

And while nation states have long been building defence against such attacks on their national infrastructure, the Wannacry case shows how easily this could happen to any commercial service like payments services, ecommerce, or transport.  Even those who are not connected to the internet can be affected when ATMs or transport is not available. 

The connected nature of the online world brings multiple benefits. But the same interconnections create a major challenge for anyone trying to keep people, countries and assets secure in the digital world.  

Preventing similar disruption requires everyone to play their part, consumers to practice good digital security, companies to keep products updated and secure, and organisations to treat cybersecurity as a strategic/board level priority.  

And as consumer organisations we have a role in understanding where new threats could come from and what impact they might have - and not only respond to harms after they happen.  This requires an understanding of how the digital ecosystem works, and the way threats to consumer welfare change and evolve. 

Data breaches have got a lot of attention and a lot of consumer facing policy is in place.

Source: goo.gl/WMSWDH

 

Consumer win on Dual MRP of water

NCDRC issues order to stop dual pricing of mineral water. This means if we see water selling at higher than base mrp anywhere, the mfg and retailer can be booked. Everyone should report and consumer dept action to stop this menace.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, in Revision Petition of 2015 examined the matter of dual pricing in the light of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and held vide its order dated February 1, 2016 that “there cannot be two MRPs, except in accordance with the law”. NCDRC also directed Director, Legal Metrology, Government of India to take necessary action. The said order was circulated to all the state governments for follow up action under the Legal Metrology Act and Rules, for contravention of legal provisions for Consumer Protection.

The Enforcement of Weights and Measures Laws is done by the State Government and as such, they are expected to take appropriate action, in the matter.

 

WCRD Briefing: Security

What is the problem?

Over half a billion digital personal records were lost or

stolen in 2015, leaving 429 million identities exposed

– and that’s just the ones we know about, as many

breaches go unreported.

 

The opportunities for data breaches are growing due to

the increased number of people online, the way different

services connect together, and because there is a much

wider range of products that can collect people’s data and

connect to the internet.

 

Personal records include information about consumers

like bank account details, email addresses, online

accounts, identity details or medical information. When

this information is lost or stolen, the effects can be

serious:

 

• Credit card fraud resulting in financial loss

• Ransomware that locks people out of their

computers, blocking access to tax returns, banking

records, and other valuable documents

• Identity theft resulting in financial loss and

reputational damage

• Suspension of accounts while the situation is put right

• Inconvenience of trying to put things right

• Distress at private information being made public

 

Security fears impact consumers around the globe.

A major survey of more than 24,000 consumers in

24 countries, found that 22% had made fewer online

purchases and 24% had made fewer financial transactions

as a result of concerns about information about them

being out there online.

Better data security will build trust. In another recent

global survey, 32% of people thought strong cyber

security systems were the most effective way for

organisations to build consumer trust. Fifty-eight per cent

of those surveyed would like to see cybercrime dealt with

by the government.

 

While some sectors, such as finance, have tightened up

security, many are not implementing basic measures, and

there is often low awareness among consumers about

how to secure a device or keep information safe. When

breaches do happen, consumers are often left with little

or no information about what to do or how things will

be put right. Often it is left to consumers to prove that

they have been affected, and to seek redress, instead of

companies putting things right.

Source or more details visit Consumers Inetrnational