Australia amended its Criminal Code Act 1995 to modernize and reform offenses for foreign interference, treason, espionage, sabotage of critical infrastructure, and interference with political rights and duties. Australia also adopted a new law establishing a registration system for individuals undertaking activities on behalf of foreign principles. Read the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act 2018 and the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018.
Brazil enacted a new data privacy law. The General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPD) will come into effect in February 2020, giving time for companies to come into compliance. The law contains sixty-five articles and adopts provisions similar to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Its provisions cover the rights of data subjects, personal data processing, international transfers, data breach disclosure requirements, and penalties. Similar to the GDPR, the law includes the right of data erasure, known informally as the right to be forgotten. Read the News Release by the President’s Office (Aug. 16, 2018) and Law No. 13.709 of Aug. 14, 2018, published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 15, 2018 (in Portuguese).
Blockchain-enabled evidence is now admissible in China’s internet courts, according to the Supreme People’s Court. China currently has three specialized internet courts to address disputes related to e-commerce, smart contracts, intellectual property, digital assets, and other technology-related issues. Court proceedings are largely conducted online. China launched the Hangzhou Internet Court in August 2017. During its first year, it handled more than 10,000 cases. The Beijing Internet Court and the Guangzhou Internet Court opened in September 2018. Read the Supreme People’s Court’s Provisions on Certain Issues in Internet Court Trial Cases (adopted Sept. 3, 2018, effective Sept. 7, 2018) (in Chinese). In October, China established its first blockchain pilot zone in Hainan Province, as a joint initiative with Oxford University, to help accelerate the use of blockchain and other digital ledger systems in finance, credit reporting, supply-chain management, and cross-border trade. Read the announcement, China Launches Blockchain Pilot Zone, Xinhua (Oct. 9, 2018).
Egypt recently enacted its first comprehensive cybercrime law. The Combating Information Technology Crimes Law criminalizes hacking into information systems, unauthorized use of wireless networks, and the creation of email accounts or websites using a different name or institution. The law allows the government to block websites that threaten the country’s national security or economy, subject to judicial approval. Individuals and internet service providers can appeal censorship decisions within seven days. Internet service providers have a duty to maintain the security of systems and personal data and not to disclose user information without a warrant. Read Law No. 175 of 2018 (Law on Combating Information Technology Crimes), Al-Jarida Al-Rasmiyya, 14 Aug. 2018 (in Arabic).
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) in October ordered Poland to suspend the provisions in its new law lowering the retirement age for Supreme Court judges and to reinstate those judges until the Court delivers its final judgment on whether Poland’s law infringes EU law. Poland’s law, adopted earlier this year, forced the retirement of roughly forty percent of Supreme Court judges in July, including the premature dismissal of the Supreme Court Chief Justice in contravention of the country’s Constitution specifying a six-year term. The European Commission brought the action before the CJEU, arguing that Poland has infringed on EU law. Read the Press Release by the European Court of Justice (Oct. 19, 2018).
Japan promulgated the Climate Change Adaptation Act on June 13, 2018. It will come into effect on December 1, 2018. The Act is organized around four pillars: a comprehensive adaptation program for climate change, the use of information platforms, the strengthening of efforts at the local and regional levels, and international cooperation, as well as assistance to the private sector to promote activities that will enhance climate change adaptation. The Act requires the government to prepare a climate change adaptation plan, containing the implementation details, such as the period for the plan, basic policies, actions to enrich and use scientific knowledge, procurement of an information platform, the role of the national environment research center, policies for the local and regional levels, promotion of activities in the private sector, international cooperation, and alliance among administrative bodies. It also requires the Ministry of Environment to assess climate change impacts every five years and revise the Climate Change Adaptation plan as necessary. Read the Climate Change Adaptation Act (Act No. 50) (in Japanese) and its summary (in Japanese).
Contributed by Eriko Hayashi, Partner, Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners, Tokyo, Japan
The U.S. President on October 17 announced that the United States will serve official notice to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU), which governs the international postal rate system. The United States will seek to negotiate new bilateral and multilateral agreements during the required one-year withdrawal process and is prepared to rescind its withdrawal if progress is made on reforming the UPU. The UPU, established on October 9, 1874, is the second oldest international organization. World Post Day is celebrated each year on October 9. Read the White House Statement from the Press Secretary.