The international legal system, based on separate national sovereignties, is struggling with its task of providing a framework for internet governance, given the cross-border flows of online services. Yet a raft of online abuses culminating with the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal is likely to force authorities to act unilaterally to regulate companies in certain areas, including -
- Data privacy: aimed at internet advertisers who sell our personal digital information for a profit.
- Data protection: aimed at companies with poor data controls who run the risk of losing personal data through negligence.
- Anti-trust: aimed at internet ecosystems that behave in an anti-competitive manner, but for whom current anti-trust laws do not work.
- Tax avoidance: aimed at tech companies who aggressively avoid local taxes by moving profits to low tax jurisdictions.
- Legal status as a content platform: aimed at online publishers who claim to be “content neutral platforms” and therefore have no responsibility for monitoring the content published by their users.
- Net neutrality: aimed at heavy users of internet bandwidth who have hitherto been shielded from paying the full costs for the internet bandwidth they consume.
- Anti-social behaviour: aimed at online platforms who wilfully break the law and violate society’s ethical norms by assisting terrorists, promoting pornography, and selling banned goods.
- Obstruction of justice: aimed at tech titans who refuse to help law enforcement agents investigating a crime by concealing evidence behind encrypted walled gardens under the guise of protecting their customers’ privacy.
- Copyright: aimed at online web crawlers who profit from other people’s copyrighted content.
Companies mentioned in this report: Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, DeNA, Facebook, Gree, Groupon, Kakao, Line, Mail.Ru, Match, Microsoft, Mixi, Momo, Naver, Renren, Sina, Snap, Tencent, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Weibo, Xing, Yahoo!, Japan, Yandex, Yelp, YY
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