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eCounsel group

A boutique firm with unparalleled expertise in business and technology. We have good command of industrial ecology and legal practice, and have undertaken highly regarded cases. Because the small business scope, we pay more emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency, and choose clients with deliberation. The managing partner not only has extensive experiences in various legal issues more over than 20 years, but invests and manages several technology companies. In addition, he always checks each case rigorously. Clients’ business objectives are our primary focus. To achieve the same in the most cost-effective fashion trumps all seemingly sophisticated legal discussions.

The U.S. Version of GDPR puts Sillicon Valley in Disarray

2018 - 10 - 15

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is regarded as one of the strictest data protection and privacy regulations in the world. In the age of internet, top tech players rely on collecting and analysing consumer data to develop better technology and better service, or in other words, to make more money. However, the Facebook data breach incident shows that with millions of people around the world start registering and using a particular online service, personal data can be easily gathered and used in the wrong way, often by hackers aiming for financial profits or even geopolitical manipulations.

On Wednesday Sep 27, the Senate Commerce Committee and top executives from Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Charter, Google and Twitter had a two and a half hour meeting on potentially passing privacy legislation, after more than a decade of inefficient debate. Although some acknowledge the government’s effort to establish a data policy, others argue that the exclusion of any non-corporate people in the meeting can be a problem.

Although top tech players show willingness and acceptance for a data policy, the degree of governance they agree on is still on the broader principles. This is understandable due to the nature of how these companies handle data differently. In addition, the senators’ ability to understand how data works is also very questionable, as perfectly shown when Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress and tried to answer several very strange questions.

“Even if Congress, Silicon Valley and consumer advocates manage to agree on basic privacy rules, Szoka says, the nitty-gritty details of how that legislation will work in the real world is the tricky part.” – Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom

Sources:
The Cybersecurity 202: Senate hearing highlights challenges of crafting national privacy law – Washington Post
Silicon Valley finally pushes for data privacy laws at Senate hearing – The Guardian

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Internal Control Systems : Born With Flaws ( Part 1 )

Many corporations don’t respond to external changes and fail to review their internal control system accordingly in a timely fashion. 內控機制的先天缺陷 – 無法即時因應營運上之調整) 許多公司未及時因應環境的改變檢討內部控制制度。內部控制制度並非一旦經過初次的設計、建立後便可高枕無憂,不論是內在外在環境的改變都會使現有的內部控制制度出現瑕疵,所以隨時檢討並且調整公司現有的內部控制也是不可輕忽的一環。 許多上市櫃公司的內部控制制度是為了配合公開發行或是上市櫃申請而設計,在達到公司的目的之後可能就因為人力成本問題或是管理階層對內控的重視程度使內部控制制度無法及時更新,縱使書面控制制度部分有依照法規加以修改,可能在實際流程上仍未配合改善,致使書面內部控制制度流程與實際運作流程不符。 內部控制制度如果沒有跟著環境條件的改變而作出應變,將會帶來很多的衍生的問題,以下會舉例讓各位容易理解。在舉例之前先解釋一下銷售模式及授信條件: 銷售模式可以大概分成兩種,B2B(business to business)與B2C(business to customer),前者是指公司行號間的生意往來,後者則是指公司行號與一般消費者的交易模式。B2B與B2C的最大差別在於兩者著重的發展策略並不相同,前者著重企業間網路的建立與供應鏈體系之穩固;後者則必須倚靠規模經濟,吸引購買、降低售價來增加利潤,發展策略大不相同。 授信條件是一種風險控制的手段,是根據交易往來對象的信用情況來決定交易相關細節必須如何訂定。商業交易當中付款期間(payment term)與授信總額是最常見的兩種授信條件。企業間往來的情況,通常買家會要求賣家有先出貨的義務,出完貨後過了一段時間才結清貨款,在出貨後到買方真正付清或款之間的時間就是所謂的付款期間。 授信總額則是賣方的生產線在特定的時間內可以接受買方多少額度的訂單,雖然說賣方通常希望可以將產能發揮到極致,訂單當然是越多越好,但是有時候還是必須考量交易往來對象的財力與信用,試想,如果一家資本額兩百萬、信用狀況不良的公司在短時間內提出高達一億元貨款的訂單而且還要求出貨兩個月再付款,這個生意可能就不會有人要做。 例子1,台灣的A車廠專門生產私家轎車,交易往來對象都是租車公司,專門銷售其所製造的汽車給這些租車公司。無奈景氣寒冬的降臨,大部分的合作對象不是關門大吉就是轉往海外發展,經過考慮A車廠決定要由B2B轉型成B2C的銷售模式,銷售模式一旦改變授信條件也必須會跟著改變,以前出貨給租車公司是有兩個月的付款期間,賣車給一般消費者則是付現或是由銀行貸款給消費者,相關的內部控制作業就必須跟著改變,但是負責內部控制作業的內部稽核人員並不一定即時了解此變革,其沿用B2B的銷售模式將會導致貨款無法立刻收到。 例子2,B車商本來從事的就是B2C的銷售模式,但是由於經濟不景氣使得本來靠付現或是向銀行貸款買車客人人數大幅下降,連帶影響B車商的生計。車商為了生存只好祭出優惠方案,一台80萬的車只要付頭期款3萬元,剩餘77萬的金額以零利率分期付款每個月一萬元的方式來清償,附上77萬元的本票以及信用卡扣款授權書就可以將新車開回家。如此一來,B車商的銷售模式與授信條件都與本來不同,內部稽核人員就必須要去追蹤該買車顧客的信用情況是否良好,有無破產情況或是退票紀錄,若有則不能使用此優惠專案,這就是授信條件的控制。但是要做出這樣的追蹤作業的前提也是:內部稽核人員即時得知此優惠專案之推出而作出應變,否則一樣會有原有內控制度與現行銷售模式脫軌的情形發生。

Amazon Lays Out Its New Phone ?!

From sources who are familiar with the matter, Amazon has been planning with some of its OEM partners for its new phone. 知情人士表示,Amazon又開始和手機廠談代工了。 雖然2014年以自己的OS版本推的Fire Phone導致Amazon認虧了一億七千萬美金,但對貝佐斯而言,這也不過就是一堂不貴的商業模式的實驗課(別忘了,臉書買目前已經改採完全免費制的WhatsApp的價格,是這個數字的一百多倍,何時能賺得回來沒人知道)。而我們向來認為,Amazon之生態系思惟裡面應該要推自主OS的手機(其中一個原因是Apple Appstore以及Google Play限制Amazon發展之處很多,以後有機會另文分析),只是需作更清楚的本質性思考。 原本的Fire Phone是很好用的手機,但畢竟它的定價 ($650) 錯了、主要功能訴求 (Firefly以及裸視3D)錯了,這回老貝會怎麼玩,我們拭目以待。 我們在去年即說過,Amazon早在2011年前就該推出附帶全球免費漫遊的instant messaging方案,它也應該考慮採MVNO模式,在主要市場兼營行動通信業務,搭配相當幅度的免費方案,推升使用者數。如此一來,它的電商特別是家庭日常用品與生鮮類的購買、視頻、音樂、書籍、期刊、報紙等等之訂閱以及廣告之觸及,必能更上層樓。 現在,其實為時未晚,雖然全球手機銷售從低階到高階甚至連iPhone都已見頹勢;但是,依目前硬體之演進,BOM cost在百元美金以下的手機已具備日常需用的所有運算能力,因此這回重返手機市場,Amazon非但完全不必靠賣硬體賺錢、還能有更靈活的商業模式之操作空間,這場仗會很有趣的。…

Apple Music Comes at Full Speed

Apple looks beyond iTunes with launch of its streaming service 「When Apple unveils a new music streaming service at the Worldwide Developers Conference, it will largely leave behind its 15-year-old iTunes brand. The company’s competitor to streaming pioneers…