What am I reading today? 25 April 2017

Shelves of books in Stockholm library
What am I reading today?

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention in the past week or so:

Update on the “Amazon.com Tax” and “Netflix Tax” changes to Australian GST

Further to my previous article, on 16 February 2017 the Commonwealth Government introduced a bill to Parliament that seeks to change the law to extend the Australian GST to so-called “low value” imports (under $1,000) of physical goods, from 1 July 2017.

The first Senate hearings into the Bill were held on 21 April. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Senate has heard from vendors and platforms such as eBay, Alibaba and Amazon, and even the transportation & logistics companies, that none

of whom want the administrative burden (cost and complexity) of having to determine whether and how much GST they need to collect on behalf of overseas retailers.

The “vendor registration model” for low-value goods is in line with the one for the Government’s proposed ‘Netflix Tax’. That would require offshore vendors to register and account for GST on the supply of things other than goods and real property to Australian consumers, also from 1 July 2017.

Meanwhile, the ATO will not rule out using its own website blocking powers to enforce GST collection by preventing Australian customers from visiting those retailers or platforms. Unless this is resolved, it looks as though [as usual?] the Australian consumer will suffer.

Broadband and Internet

Net neutrality has taken a big step forward in Canada, with the CRTC ruling against Videotron’s zero-rated music streaming service, and releasing a 4-point code for evaluating whether a service is net-neutral. Michael Geist and Ars Technica each have articles discussing the implications of the CRTC decision.

Privacy

On the privacy and online tracking front, US consumers are suing Bose for allegedly tracking and selling the listening habits of its headphone users.

Similarly, the newsletter unsubscribe service Unroll.me is selling its users’ information. In November 2014, market research company Slice Intelligence acquired Unroll.me. That purchase seems to have gone unnoticed by most users until this week, after the NY Times revealed that Slice had analysed Lyft receipt data in the inboxes of Unroll.me users, and on-sold the aggregate data to Lyft’s competitor, Uber.

What am I reading today? 14 April 2017

Shelves of books in Stockholm library
What am I reading today?

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention in the past week or so:

Internet & Technology

The ACCC is taking Apple to court, alleging Apple mislead Australian consumers
An Italian court issued a nationwide Uber ban
Cloud viruses in the Invisible Republic

Telecommunications & Broadband

On 13 April 2017, the grace period closed for Australian Internet service providers and telecoms carriers to comply with the mandatory data retention scheme. They are required to retain prescribed non-content metadata for 2 years – or for “subscriber information”, for 2 years after the subscriber’s account is closed.

On a related note, the A-G’s Dept has backed down on its late-2016 proposal to allow civil litigants to access metadata collected by the data retention scheme. The report to Parliament concluded there is not enough support for expanding these regulations. It’s worth noting that litigants are (with a court order) still able to access other metadata which ISPs retain, other than solely to comply with the scheme.

Intellectual Property

Huawei phones face a possible ban after UK High Court decision
Accor gets its trade marks back from a squatter

What am I reading today? 2 April 2017

Shelves of books in Stockholm library
What am I reading today?

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention in the past week or so:

Internet & Technology, Internet of Things

This Smart Doorbell Was Accidentally Sending Data To China, Until People Started Freaking Out

Intellectual Property

Piracy crackdown: Village Roadshow launches legal action to block 41 websites

Privacy

Ontario student slapped with $25K fine for snooping on personal health info
UK public faces mass invasion of privacy as big data and surveillance merge

What am I reading today? 19 Feb 2017

Shelves of books in Stockholm library
What am I reading today?

Here are a few of the stories that caught my attention in the past week or so:

Internet & Technology

American Spies: how we got to mass surveillance without even trying (Ars Technica)

Intellectual Property

Sleep Country gets injunction blocking Sears Canada from using similar mattress slogan (FP)

Privacy

Australia’s mandatory breach notification laws will commence in approximately 12 months’ time. Here’s what you need to know:

How Will Australia's New Mandatory Data Breach Notification Laws Impact Your Business? (LH)
Mandatory data breach notification (OAIC)
Canadian Privacy in the Age of Trump (Michael Geist)
Queensland police say they will not investigate council's audio surveillance (Guardian)

What am I reading today? 11 Feb 2017

Shelves of books in Stockholm library

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention in the past month or so:

Internet & Technology

Google Inc v Trkulja [2016] VSCA 333 (20 December 2016)
Centrelink debt notices based on 'idiotic' faith in big data, IT expert says | Australia news
Is Google about to launch the largest torrent search engine ever seen?
10 things to watch for at the intersection of Tech and Law in 2017
Why that porn site you looked at might be nasty in divorce 

Intellectual Property

Copyright Down Under: The Year that Was, in the Land of “Oz” 
Productivity Commission published its completed report on intellectual property
GeekNation Star Trek Lawyers Don’t Want To Rehash Klingon Language Debate 

Privacy

Airline passenger details easy prey for hackers, say researchers
Privacy chief has 'grave concerns' about listening devices installed in public places by council
The Australian “Ben Grubb” decision and its link to Canada

What am I reading today? 17 Dec 2016

Shelves of books in Stockholm library
What am I reading today?

Here are some of the stories that caught my attention this week:

Technology

Australia’s banks continue to get on the tech bandwagon: NAB is creating an API developer portal‘ to share ATM and forex data, while Suncorp named Microsoft Australia’s managing director as that bank’s new innovation CEO.

Yahoo disclosed a second major hack in which an “unauthorized third party” stole data from more than 1B user accounts.

​Visa and MasterCard joined forces for payment tokenisation. This is a good step, even if it comes too late to protect my credit card from being skimmed.

Telecommunications & Broadband 

The Australian Government will replace the NBN cross-subsidy with a new AU$7 monthly broadband tax, in order to put wholesale NBN and retail fibre services on the same playing field.

Sen. Mitch Fifield was concerned the mooted domestic mobile roaming regime would leave Australian taxpayers funding rural coverage.

Meanwhile, Canadian taxpayers will actually pay $500 million to deliver broadband to 300 rural and remote communities.

Intellectual Property

The “Barossa Signature” wine trade mark litigation was bottled up: The Federal Court held that Pernod Ricard’s (owner of the Jacobs Creek wine empire) use of BAROSSA SIGNATURE on its wines was not deceptively similar to Yalumba’s registered Australian trade mark no. 805652, THE SIGNATURE. 

The US White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator has released a strategy document (PDF) about Internet regulation through “private agreements”.  You can read the EFF’s take on it: White House IP Czar Promotes Shadow Regulation of the Internet

Fashionista has published a very readable primer on copyright, trademark and patent law in the fashion sector.

Privacy

You might know that home digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, record what you say to them, but Wired looks at what happens to your data?

A court in the US state of Florida has ruled that police can force you to surrender your phone passcode in very specific circumstances.

After a “revolt” by users, Evernote has backtracked on its proposed privacy policy change (tempest in a teacup, if you ask me).

Just when you thought NAB was getting its arms around this technology stuff… NAB sent details of 60,000 customers to the wrong email address. To avoid a privacy lawsuit, Google will wait until email arrives in your inbox before scanning it for advertising keywords.