Regional updates: Asia

What were the main digital policy regional updates in Asia? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.

Follow the GIP's October 2019 briefing on Internet governance, which will include updates from the Asia region during October. Register to attend.

August 2019

Curated by Amrita Choudhury

Singapore Convention on Mediation opens for signing

7 Aug 2019 |  Alternative Dispute Resolution

The Singapore Convention on Mediation (UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation), a multilateral treaty developed by the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), opens for signing in Singapore. The Convention provides a uniform framework for the recognition and enforcement of mediated settlement agreements that resolve international commercial disputes, similar to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. It provides for international mediated settlements to be treated in a manner comparable to Arbitral Awards.

New Zealand modifies tax laws to include cryptocurrency incomes

7 Aug 2019 |  Taxation, E-Money and virtual currencies

New Zealand tax authorities have issued guidelines on how to tax incomes from cryptocurrency. New Zealand has recognised cryptocurrency as a means of payment for fees and salaries. New rules will apply for salary and wage earners, but not for self-employed taxpayers. Regulators noted that ‘In the current environment where crypto-assets are not readily accepted as payment for goods and services, the Commissioner’s view is that crypto-assets that cannot be converted directly into fiat currency on an exchange [...] are not sufficiently ‘money like’ to be considered salary or wages.’ New Zealand joined the group of countries that are tightening their tax rules in order to include cryptocurrency as a taxable income.

Chinese CNCERT expresses concerns over over-collection of user data

18 Aug 2019 |  Privacy and data protection

According to TechWire Asia, China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team said that app developers need to re-evaluate the amount of data collected from their users. In its half-yearly report, the agency identified a significant number of mobile apps that need to rectify the issue of over-collection, and called for a national response to address the problem, as the country’s 800 million mobile users migrate to online platforms for their shopping needs. According to IAPP, the report of the agency states that ‘a large number of apps exhibit abnormal behaviour, such as detecting other apps or reading and writing user device files, posing a potential security threat to the user’s information security’.

Huawei launches own operating system

22 Aug 2019 |  Emerging technologies

At the Huawei Developers Conference, Huawei launched its own operating system called HarmonyOS as  ‘completely different from Android and iOS’. Accordingto Huawei, the four distinct features of the OS include: the use of distributed architecture; being five times more efficient than existing systems; having enhanced security and low latency; and the ability to be deployed across multiple devices.

China responds to Facebook and Twitter allegations

22 Aug 2019 |  Other human rights, Freedom of expression

China has expressed the right to put out its own views after Twitter and Facebook claimed to have dismantled a state-backed social media campaign originating in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong.

Twitter has suspended 936 accounts, while Facebook has removed several pages from a small network. Both companies said that their investigations found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government.

Madras High Court says Aadhar cannot be used to authenticate SM accounts

22 Aug 2019 |  Intermediaries, Content policy

In the ongoingWhatsApp traceabilitycase, the Madras High Court has reiterated that Aadhaar cannot be used to authenticate social media accounts, as it violated the Supreme Court’s judgement. While the original PILs, filed by Antony Clement Rubin (w.p. no. 20774/2018) and Janani Krishnamurthy (w.p. no. 20214/2018) sought the ‘linking of Aadhaar or any one of the Government authorised identity proof as mandatory for the purpose of authentication while obtaining any email or user account’, the scope was to include issues such as curbing cybercrime and intermediary liability.

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