The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Hague has ruled in favour of the Vodafone Group against the income tax department of India in a long pending arbitration case of US$2 billion tax dispute on a retrospective basis. In the ruling, the international court mentioned that the imposition of a tax liability along with interest and penalties by the Indian tax department was in breach of ‘guarantee of fair and equitable treatment’ of the terms laid out in the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) agreement between the Netherlands and India.
TikTok has appointed a seven member 'Safety Advisory Council' in the Asia-Pacific that comprises academics, advocates, and activists who will advise the platform on issues related to online safety, child safety, digital literacy, mental health, and human rights. The advisory council is expected to convene quarterly to discuss issues and submit formal recommendations to TikTok.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released recommendations on traffic management practices (TMPs) and a creation of a multistakeholder body for net neutrality. Some of the recommendations include: the creation of a repository of TMPs that Internet service providers (ISPs) may adopt; creation of a policy for ISPs to inform affected users on the impact of applied TMPs; establish a multistakeholder body that would advise and support the Department of Telecom (DOT) in monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality principles, including creating a repository of TMPs and investigate complaints related to the violations of net neutrality.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released recommendations for a regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) communications services in India. TRAI has recommended that the market forces should be allowed to respond to user demands without any regulatory intervention from the state. However, developments might be monitored and intervention shall occur as necessary in an appropriate time. Furthermore, no regulatory interventions are currently necessary in respect of the privacy and security issues of OTT services. Finally, TRAI has advised that it is not an opportune moment to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for OTT services.
The Australian Federal Court has rejected Facebook Inc.’s application to set aside the court’s earlier ruling granting the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) leave to serve legal documents to the US based social media giant in a Cambridge Analytica investigation. In the ruling, Justice Thawley was satisfied that the OAIC had established a prima facie case that Facebook was conducting business, and collecting and holding personal information in Australia at the relevant time. According to the Guardian, the OAIC stated that 311 127 Australian citizens’ data was exposed by Cambridge Analytica.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) announced a new partnership to promote affordable Internet access and meaningful connectivity in the Asia and Pacific region through policy and regulatory reform. The partnership will work mainly towards developing training curriculums, delivering capacity building, and sharing workshops for policymakers from the region, as well as conducting a joint study on assessing effective policy options for meaningful broadband connectivity in Asia and the Pacific. Through this collaboration, the two entities will further support the harmonisation of the regional policy processes to ensure that both parties are working together to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
New Zealand’s Stock Exchange Market (NZX) faced a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack for four days, forcing the government to activate the country’s National Security System. The cyber-attacks disrupted cash and debt markets and the Fonterra shareholders market, including its derivatives. The Fonterra Co-operative Group is the world’s largest milk exporter.
Though the New Zealand government has not been able to pinpoint the source of the attack, government agencies have stated that the cyber-attack originated from ‘offshore sources’.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre issued an Internet of things (IoT) guide for manufacturers titled Code of Practice: Securing the Internet of Things for Consumers. The guide aims to help manufacturers offer secure IoT devices for consumers. It includes 13 principles and provides examples of how to implement them. The principles address: creating strong passwords; vulnerability disclosure policies; software security updates; storing credentials; protecting personal data; minimising exposed attack surfaces; ensuring communication security and software integrity; making systems resilient to outages; monitoring system telemetry data; enabling consumers to delete personal data; installing and maintaining devices; and validating input data.
The Cyberspace Administration of China and state news agency Xinhua has launched a new app to combat online misinformation. Called the United Rumour Debunking Platform, the platform is a part of a broader campaign to address the online misinformation in China. This app and other programmes that will run within some major Chinese apps like WeChat and Baidu, will enable users to quickly fact-check online rumours. It will also allow the users to report online misinformation.
China has updated its export control regulations to include several sensitive technologies. One of the technologies added which needs an export control license sounded like TikTok’s personalised recommendation engine, the New York Times reported. The new regulation will mean that Chinese ByteDance would need a license to sell its TikTok technology to a US company.