EY Asia-Pacific Digital Law Newsletter

Woman paying using smartwatch with NFC technology in a storeThis special e-commerce edition is in response to many readers’ requests after our special second edition on blockchain and cryptocurrency. In this issue we explore several of the e-commerce related developments in a number of the countries across the Asia-Pacific. Given the importance of e-commerce and the digital marketplace today, we are finally seeing a number of countries across the region introduce new laws (or amendments to existing laws) that specifically address (or catch up with) the technology and resulting processes of the digital marketplace/e-commerce.

However, we are not yet seeing regional co-operation in Asia-Pacific or harmonization of e-commerce laws to accommodate the cross-border digital marketplace or, in fact recognizing the borderless nature of e-commerce. The current fetters on the regional digital marketplace, imposed by each jurisdiction’s differing e-commerce laws and approaches, will need to be removed, and regional harmonization of both the approaches to and laws regulating the regional digital marketplace are required.

There is much concern in Australia about the new ‘Consumer Data Right’ and the confusion that will arise because in a few sectors (banking from July 2019 with energy and telecommunications to follow) and in specific circumstances there will be different rights and obligations applying to consumer related data. That is, different treatment of the same data in other sectors and, in the same sector, in slightly different circumstances.

Late in 2018, the Australian consumer and competition regulator (the ACCC) issued its review of the digital marketplace and has recommended a focus on consumer’s rights and significantly greater fines and enforcement than under existing privacy law by vesting the ACCC with regulatory oversight of all ‘consumer data’.

Debate is currently raging whether this will be the death of privacy and the separate privacy regulator or a new beginning for privacy in relation to consumers. We suspect the themes raised by the ACCC in its review may be considered by other similar regulators in countries across the region in 2019.

Read the full newsletter here.

EY legal contacts:

Frith Tweedie, NZ Digital Law Leader

Kirsty Keating, Oceania Law Leader