BRICS bloc – home to 40 percent of humanity – wants to drive global e-commerce consumer protection rules

China has the giant e-tailers, India has the customers, Brazil, Russia and South Africa are aboard


The annual BRICS summit – a high-level meeting between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – has resolved to explore development e-commerce consumer protections, both for their own citizens and possibly for the rest of the world.

The BRICS bloc formed in 2009 with the aim of giving member’ rapidly-developing economies a collective forum with which to advance their global agendas and facilitate intra-bloc trade and co-operation. South Africa joined in 2010.

This year’s summit went virtual, denying Russia its turn as host. But moving to a video meeting didn’t stop diplomats writing a Summit Declaration that, once it gets the carefully-worded diplomatic language out of the way, signalled the bloc’s e-commerce intentions as follows:

“We recognize the potential for establishing a workstream to examine the experience of BRICS and other countries, as well as international associations in the field of consumer protection in e-commerce and create a basis for exploring the development of a practical framework for ensuring consumer protection in the BRICS countries, including through pilot projects and initiatives.”

That terminology means the deal is far from done, but does signal that the BRICS might just do some work on consumer protection and try to get their own norms adopted, or at least considered, outside the bloc.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

30 percent of world agrees not to require onshore storage for e-commerce customer data

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As the BRICS represent around 40 percent of humanity, norms they adopt within their borders will be influential. And as China has the world’s most colossal e-tailers its interest in developing consumer protection standards – on top of its moves last week to improve them at home - suggests a snowball has been set to rolling.

The Declaration also include an expression of concern “over the rising level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs as well as the absence of a multilateral framework to counter the use of ICTs for criminal purposes.” The Bloc wants the United Nations to sort that with a treaty.

The group also called for justice systems to be digitalised, for more information technology training, and expressed the strong hope that online child exploitation will be combatted fiercely. ®


India drops the bar on e-commerce seller's listings: You want to sell it? Tell us where it came from from then

Inform people in case they go Chinese and ignore self-sufficiency drive

India’s Department of Consumer Affairs has detailed new rules for e-commerce operators, including a requirement to reveal a product’s place of origin.

The requirement was floated in late June and linked to India’s current self-sufficiency drive and the ongoing border dispute with China. A new draft [PDF] of the regulations published late last week requires e-commerce operators to publish “all relevant details about the goods and services offered for sale by the seller including country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage.”

The rules also require sites to list the names and details of importers, plus details of third-party sellers using the e-commerce marketplace's involved.

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Alibaba-aligned e-commerce outfit Taobao quits Taiwan

Was given deadline to declare its Chinese ties or leave, chose the latter

Alibaba-aligned e-commerce operator Taobao will quit Taiwan.

Amazon’s Alexa internet analytics service rates Taobao as the world’s eight-busiest website – four spots above Amazon.com itself. Taobao’s Taiwanese site is less popular, but its mere existence demonstrated Alibaba’s intent to expand the brand’s footprint.

Taiwan had other plans. In September 2020, the nation imposed new rules that required businesses operating locally to register if they have received significant-but-not-controlling investments from mainland China. Such businesses can expect extra oversight in case they’re transferring tech to China.

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30 percent of world agrees not to require onshore storage for e-commerce customer data

New top trade bloc wants fewer barriers to business across China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia and 11 more countries, but not India

15 Asian nations that together represent around 30 percent of the world’s population and GDP have signed a trade deal that means e-commerce operators in member nations will not be required to store customers’ data in their nation of residence.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was agreed to by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The deal aims to harmonise tariffs and regulations across the member nations, with a view to trimming them over time in the service of promoting trade and economic growth.

Among the measures aimed at achieving those outcomes is an e-commerce agreement that, as the full text of the agreement explains in Chapter 12 [PDF] is dedicated to e-commerce: “No Party shall require a covered person to use or locate computing facilities in that Party’s territory as a condition for conducting business in that Party’s territory.”

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Alibaba to serve up Kentucky Fried smart speaker, with a $1.4bn side of e-commerce integration

Hey Tmall Genie, spike my cholesterol, then coalesce my web empire with voice commands

Alibaba will invest $1.4bn into its smart speaker line, including a model capable of ordering KFC for breakfast.

Alibaba's smart speaker is called the "Tmall Genie"and has been China's top-selling smart speaker since its launch in 2017, according to the latest data from IDC. The device integrates with more than 1,100 partner brands, ranging from smart fridges, robot vacuum cleaners and tech-enabled sportswear.

A new version of the speaker, announced yesterday, will be branded with KFC's logo and allow users to order and pay for KFC breakfast items from over 5,000 locations across China. Alibaba had not responded to The Register's inquiries about ordering lunch and dinner too.

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Sources: Oracle Commerce Cloud devs laid off as platform struggles to gain traction, move to modern architecture

Big Red: Everything's fine

A bunch of Oracle developers supporting its Commerce systems are being let go as Big Red seeks to downsize the struggling platform.

Sources close to the development teams in Northern Ireland and Massachusetts, US have confirmed a number of layoffs. Meanwhile, some of the remaining team members said they were nervously seeking alternative work as they have lost faith in Oracle's commitment to the platforms.

One source close to the team, which numbers around 400, said many had seen the "writing on the wall" and are "looking to get out before everyone got fired."

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Google extends e-commerce platform to help people in India find nearby food during lockdown

Google Pay is about to get really useful in India's biggest cities

Google's India operation has launched a new feature that enables users to find and transact with essential stores during the novel coronavirus lockdown.

According to the company's Indian blog, the new feature is called "Nearby Spot" and will help users locate nearby stores that remain open during the country's lockdown.

The new feature is especially useful in India, where the vast majority of groceries are traditional mum and pop businesses who have not invested in websites. According to Euromonitor, India has 12.8m traditional grocery outlets, compared with only 7,162 modern ones.

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Groupon to pay IBM $57m after getting money off e-commerce patent settlement

Big Blue will 'consider' giving staff access to e-voucher biz offers through corporate plan

Groupon has managed to secure a money-off deal in its court battle with IBM over e-commerce patents.

The pair have agreed to settle the dispute, with the e-voucher biz set to pay $57m to IBM, knocking almost a third off the price tag granted by a court this summer.

In July, a jury ruled that Groupon had wilfully infringed four of IBM's e-commerce patents and awarded the firm some $83m – about half the $167m Big Blue had initially sought.

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Chinese e-commerce site LightInTheBox.com bared 1.3TB of server logs, user data and more

Things you don't do with Elasticsearch dbs, number 1: Put them on the web

Exclusive Infosec researchers have uncovered a data breach affecting 1.3TB of web server log entries held by Chinese e-commerce website LightInTheBox.com.

Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, VPN comparison site VPNmentor’s research team, uncovered the breach in late November.

The data was “unsecured and unencrypted”, accessible from an ordinary web browser and was being held on an Elasticsearch database, which, as the two noted, “is ordinarily not designed for URL use”.

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Microsoft flips big Indonesian e-tailer Bukalapak into Azure from Google cloud

Taking a strategic stake in the biz probably helped and shows how big tech is buying into Asia

Microsoft has taken a “strategic stake” in Indonesian e-tailer Bukalapak and will run the service in its Azure cloud.

Microsoft has not disclosed the value of its stake.

The deal has enormous potential for Microsoft beyond Azure, because Bukalapak offers it a route to over 70 million consumers through myriad small retailers.

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Hot US deal! IBM wins $83m from Groupon in e-commerce patent spat

Jury rules voucher biz wilfully infringed patents from pre-internet era

IBM has won $82.5m in a legal battle against Groupon over e-commerce patent infringement.

The verdict, delivered by a jury at the end of last week after a 10-day trial, was that Groupon had wilfully infringed a number of IBM's patents.

Because of the ruling that it was wilful, the online voucher biz was handed a larger penalty – although it fell wide of the $167m damages IBM had sought.

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