In Japan, the Fair Trade Commission said last week that it has draft guidelines in place that would promote tighter regulation of larger tech firms.
As reported by JapanTimes.com, the first rules may go into effect as early as next month. The guidelines would address concerns over customer data and would impact companies such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon, among others. The concerns are centered on how companies obtain and use customer data through the means of what is being termed their “superior bargaining position.”
Under the terms of the draft guidelines, firms would have to disclose to users their reasons for collecting personal data. The guidelines will reportedly be finalized after a public consultation period that stretches through Sept. 30.
Separately, and in reference to tax policy, the United States and France have agreed to settle differences over a digital tax that had been levied by France on large tech companies, as CNBC reported. The announcement came from French President Emmanuel Macron that France will eliminate a 3 percent tax on digital companies once there is a larger, international agreement in place on digital taxation. As reported, companies paying the French digital tax will be reimbursed once that international framework is in place.
As reported, France debuted the 3 percent tax in July, targeting roughly 30 Big Tech companies that include Facebook, Amazon and Google, all firms with top lines of more than $830 million USD equivalent, with at least $27 million USD coming from activities conducted in France.
The announcement from France comes as a global initiative across 120 countries to tax internet firms in a coordinated way is gathering steam. The assessment comes from Angel Gurria, who serves as secretary general of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). At the Group of Seven summit in France earlier this month, he said that “what we are seeing is a very strong and a very clear signal of wanting to find a multilateral solution.”
Libra in the Crosshairs
In terms of crypto-focused regulation, Facebook’s proposed Libra currency project still draws calls for stringent oversight.
In one recent example concerning the European Central Bank (ECB), board member Yves Mersch said last week that “depending on Libra’s level of acceptance and on the referencing of the euro in its reserve basket, it could reduce the ECB’s control over the euro, impair the monetary policy transmission mechanism by affecting the liquidity position of euro area banks, and undermine the single currency’s international role.”
Libra’s highly centralized nature, Mersch said, is “extremely concerning” since there is no lender of last resort. Of Facebook’s backing of Libra, he said, “it is scheduled for release in the first half of 2020 by the very same people who had to explain themselves in front of legislators in the United States and the European Union, on the threats to our democracies resulting from their handling of personal data on their social media platform.”
Mersch added that against that backdrop, regulators must assess jurisdiction over Libra.
In what might be seen as a shot across Libra’s bow, Bloomberg reported that Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, said it has learned a “valuable lesson” from the resistance Libra has encountered. Binance, which is based in Malta, has said it will work with regulators as it rolls out Venus, its own digital currency offering, and will take a different approach as it works on a rival project.
“If we want to launch Venus in a country, we’ll make sure it complies with the regulations,” the exchange’s Co-founder He Yi said in an interview with the site.