New Chinese measures define consumer personal information
Mon 26 Jan 2015, 11:38

On January 5, 2015, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of the People’s Republic of China published its Measures for the Punishment of Conduct Infringing the Rights and Interests of Consumers (the “Measures”). The Measures contain a number of provisions defining circumstances or actions under which enterprise operators may be deemed to have infringed the rights or interests of consumers.

According to Article 11, “consumer personal information” refers to “information collected by an enterprise operator during the sale of products or provision of services, that can, singly or in combination with other information, identify a consumer.” Article 11 also provides a list of specific examples of “consumer personal information,” including a consumer’s “name, gender, occupation, birth date, identification card number, residential address, contact information, income and financial status, health status, and consumer status.”

While this definition applies only in relation to consumer personal information, it is an instructive milestone in the continuing emergence of China’s sector-by-sector patchwork of rules and regulations governing the collection and use of personal information.

Criticism to the Republican net neutrality proposal
Wed 21 Jan 2015, 23:00

A Republican net neutrality proposal in the U.S. Congress would not fully protect broadband customers because it would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from enacting new rules against selectively blocking or throttling traffic, critics said Wednesday. The Republican draft legislation would kill the FCC’s ability to act on schemes that prioritize some traffic over others, witnesses told a congressional committee. The proposal “would strip the county’s expert communications agency of authority to protect consumers on the communications platform of the 21st century,” said Jessica Gonzalez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.


Obama outlines new cybersecurity initiatives to protect consumers
Mon 12 Jan 2015, 23:00

Obama’s Student Digital Privacy Act would stop companies from selling student data to third parties, except for educational purposes, and from using such data to create targeted advertisements. The act is modeled on a California initiative that will take effect in January 2016.

Another proposed piece of legislation is the Personal Data Notification & Protection Act. If passed, it will require companies to alert customers within 30 days of discovering a security breach regarding customer information. It is meant to simplify the current framework for data breach notifications, which varies state by state.

Consumers protection for e-books
Fri 9 Jan 2015, 00:20

Often DRM isn't just an infringement of your speech rights under copyright law, but more fundamentally an infringement of your rights as a consumer (you might be prevented not only from lending a book, but even from reading it). That's why a new wave of consumer protection laws around the world are also beginning to address the problems of DRM, by holding purveyors of digital products to the same standards as their physical counterparts. For example, since 2011, Europe has had a Consumer Rights Directive [PDF] that requires vendors of digital products to disclose up-front any DRM restrictions or interoperability issues, in clear and comprehensible language.

Dutch telecos KPN and Vodafone fined for net neutrality violations
Tue 27 Jan 2015, 17:00

The Dutch Authority for Consumer and Market (ACM) said it fined KPN because the free wi-fi hotspots it provided at Dutch airports "blocked various services including several internet calling services. As a result, consumers were unable to use these services. Internet providers are prohibited from deciding what their customers can and cannot do online." And the Reason to fine Vodafone is the positive discrimination it exerted on consumers in general on its network by offering applications allowing customers to watch pay-TV channel HBO for free on certain conditions.

More information in Dutch is available here and in English here.

Germany - Bundesrat disagrees with the new GDRP approach on consumer protection
Tue 15 Sep 2015, 18:05

The German Federal Assembly (Bundesrat) has recently issued an opinion criticising the new European Data Protection Regulation for its approach to consumer protection and recommends that the current level EU consumer protection be maintained.

The opinion is available in German here.