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Legislation

15 December 2016

Changes to DMCA Safe Harbor Registration Require Action by December 31, 2017

As part of a housekeeping effort, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a final rule that changes the designated agent mechanism protecting online service providers from certain copyright infringement liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).  Companies will now have to re-register every three years, and existing registrations will cease to be valid by the end of next year.

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02 December 2016

European Commission adopts its Work Programme for 2017; includes focus on Digital Single Market Strategy and General Data Protection Regulation

On October 25, 2016 the European Commission (the “Commission“) adopted its 2017 Work Programme (the “Work Programme”) which sets out what the Commission intends to do over the next 12 months. The Work Programme is the third to be presented under Jean-Claude Junker’s presidency of the Commission and will also be the first Work Programme to be adopted following consultation with the European Parliament (the “Parliament“) and the European Council (the “Council“).

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28 October 2016

House of Lords Amends Investigatory Powers Bill to Recognise Privacy as a “Fundamental Priority”

Members of the UK House of Lords have amended the Investigatory Powers Bill to make privacy a fundamental concern by inserting the following in clause 1 –

“This Act sets out the extent to which certain investigatory powers may be used to interfere with privacy.”

The amendment, proposed by Lord Janvrin, a member of the UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (“ISC“), was approved on Tuesday 11 October 2016, after a debate in which many members highlighted the need for safeguards against disproportionate use of the Bill by public authorities.

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21 October 2016

White House Publishes Report on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been hailed for the promise of breakthrough innovations but also the object of concern by such notable voices as Bill Gates, Stephen Hawkins, and Elon Musk.  To explore the issues presented, the White House conducted a review of the opportunities, risks, and regulatory implications of artificial intelligence.  Last week, the White House released a comprehensive report, Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, reflecting a culmination of its  review, including public comment and several public workshops that were co-hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with the National Economic Council, as well as non-profit and academic organizations.

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03 August 2016

Russia announces new laws requiring telecoms, internet service providers retain personal data and increasing penalties for online hate speech

On July 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law amending existing anti-terrorism legislation that could affect U.S. telecom and internet service companies operating in Russia.  It will require that telecommunications operators and internet service providers (“ISPs”) retain up to 6 months of data, including personal data and communications content, as well as metadata, for periods up to 3 years.  Further, if any encryption is used to protect the data, the telecommunication or internet service provider must provide the Russian authorities the decryption technology.

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29 July 2016

FOIA Improvement Act of 2016: The Presumption of Openness” and Other Significant Changes

On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (the Act). The Act adds provisions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that may assist requesters, as well as lead to increased disclosure. However, business records currently protected by existing interpretations of FOIA exemptions should continue to be protected despite these changes. The flagship change enacts the Obama Administration’s “presumption of openness” by codifying an already-existing executive branch policy that restricts an agency’s discretionary power to withhold documents to situations where disclosure would result in foreseeable harm. Other changes include a 25-year sunset provision for protection of privileged pre-decisional inter- or intra-agency memoranda under exemption 5; procedural changes intended to streamline requests and reduce delay; and increased emphasis on FOIA’s alternative dispute resolution services to assist requesters.

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11 July 2016

Lexology Navigator publishes Data Security & Cybercrime in the USA by Sidley Austin LLP

Globe Business Media Group has published a Lexology Navigator on Data Security and Cybercrime in the USA by Sidley Austin LLP.  Colleen Brown, Ed McNicholas, Alan Raul and Anna Spencer contributed to the reference guide, which also lets you compare jurisdictions on various legal topics, such as data protection, from leading practitioners in the area.

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06 July 2016

Privacy Shield Text Updated

The final text of the much anticipated EU-US Privacy Shield has been sent by the European Commission for review and approval to the Article 31 Committee, which includes representatives from all 28 Member States.  Approval by the Article 31 Committee will pave the way for a final decision by the Commission adopting the Privacy Shield, expected on 11 July, 2016.  If approved, the Privacy Shield will take effect as soon as the US Department of Commerce establishes a new process for US companies that wish to use the Privacy Shield as a legal basis for data transfers of personal data from the EU to certify in accordance with the new framework.  Businesses should examine the final Privacy Shield documents and requirements and determine whether to proceed with certification once the Privacy Shield is approved.

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05 July 2016

Post-Brexit EU May Be Stranded By Its Own Data Rules

*This article first appeared in Forbes on July 1, 2016.

So now the European Union’s “sceptered isle” has voted to sever its bonds with its continental partners – with the wish that (as described in a Shakespeare passage memorized by every English schoolchild for generations) it can be set off by the sea “against the envy of less happier lands.”  The outcome demonstrates the depth of dissatisfaction with a world that has become interconnected.

In the meantime, the EU is facing its own tensions with global interconnectedness that threaten to turn it into a virtual island as it heads further down the path of cutting off the flow of data to “third countries” outside the EU.

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