July 20, 2020: The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on July 16 that EU data agencies must suspend data transfers to any country where the EU standards for data privacy cannot be met. It ruled that one particular arrangement, the US Privacy Shield, failed to meet the standards, and this has a direct impact on Facebook.
July 16, 2020: A new paper written by Deborah James of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research and published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation argues that giant tech corporations are trying to use trade rules to collect more data, exercise more control over people’s lives and over their workers, and amass ever more profit.
May 27, 2020: The Public Services International report, Digital Trade Rules and Big Tech: surrendering public good to private power, by Professor Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland, analyses the e-commerce chapter of the Comprehensive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership and some specific case studies, with alarming conclusions and a call for action.
April 30, 2020: Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has issued a directive about the new COVID-19 tracing app to reassure users that their privacy will be protected, and their data will not be abused.
The government claims that the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) Determination 2020, Section 7 states that the data must be stored in Australia.
April 15, 2020: India imposed a sweeping new tax on digital goods and services on April 1, 2020, closely followed by an Indonesian move on April 7. Both countries noted the rapid increase in online activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns on physical contact between people.
The Indian government used its 2020 Budget to impose the 2 per cent tax on all goods and services sold online in India by companies that do not have a taxable presence in India. The threshold for sales is low, at US$267,000.
March 30, 2020: Australia and Singapore concluded the text of a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) on March 23. There is a summary on the DFAT website but the full text will not be released until after it has been legally checked and signed, which could take at least 1-2 months.
The agreement will replace the e-commerce chapter in the Singapore-Australia FTA.
March 2, 2020: An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald reveals that Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), the Hong Kong company that now owns the privatised Australian Alinta energy company, is storing sensitive personal data overseas without adequate privacy protections, despite undertakings given to the Australian government in 2017 that data would be stored in Australia and conform to Australian privacy laws.