On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 en route to Nairobi, Kenya crashed shortly after take-off leaving no survivors. It became the carrier’s most deadly crash and its first fatal crash since January 2010. Most notably, however, it was the second fatal crash involving Boeing’s new 737 MAX jet in less than five months after the Lion Air Flight 610 accident in October 2018. The day following the tragedy, Ethiopian Airlines grounded all of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice. Many other airlines suspended operations of the aircraft as well and countless countries banned the 737 MAX from airspace.
Ever since the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, concerns surrounding data privacy and protection have been growing. Both government agencies and individual users have particularly been concerned on how their data is being collected and used on social media websites such as Facebook. Germany has taken action in response to such concerns and recently took a step against Facebook’s collection of data in a decision that outlawed Facebook’s entire advertisement regime.
Aviation accidents, though rare, occur all over the world. However, the relatively high frequency of airplane disappearances and fatal incidents in Southeast Asia has been a primary cause of concern within the industry. Most recently, on October 29, 2018, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea off the coast of Jakarta. Just thirteen minutes into a scheduled hour-long flight, all 189 passengers and crewmembers aboard the aircraft lost their lives. Almost immediately,speculation arose regarding the cause of the accident as well as questions regarding the common occurrence of Indonesian aviation disasters.
On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament approved amendments to the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, commonly known as the EU Copyright Directive (the “Directive”). The amendments primarily cover copyright protection over internet resources. There are two parts of the Directive that have caused concern: Articles 11 and 13. Article 11, also referred to as the “link tax,” provides publishers with a method to collect revenue from news content shared online. Article 13, also referred to as the “upload filter,” holds Internet platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, liable for copyright infringement committed by users. Together, large and small platform providers that would have to comply with these new regulations have declared that the enactment of these articles places a heavier burden on service providers. Critics of these amendments also say the requirements are likely to lead to increased taxation and more lawsuits. The final vote on the directive is scheduled for January 2019.
In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations issued a special report on the impact of global warming. The report shared extensive research about our changing atmosphere and issued a grave warning: we must act immediately. The harrowing news came just over one year after President Trump ordered the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017. This begs the question: how will changes be made when the world’s most powerful and impactful hegemon refuses to cooperate?
The IRS has decided to shutdown its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) on September 28, 2018. The program offers amnesty from criminal prosecution and a set penalty structure for those who have previously failed to disclose foreign bank accounts and other foreign assets, including those held through undisclosed foreign entities. Failure to disclose could include failure to file the annual FinCEN Form 114,most commonly referred to as the foreign bank account report or “FBAR”, as well as the failure to report income from such accounts and assets on tax returns and the failure to provide various other foreign information forms and returns.
Compliance standards in the United States come from the laws and policies enacted by the government and its related agencies. Administering U.S. standards on foreign institutions, public or private, poses a unique challenge. Our public and private companies are held accountable by federal, state, local, or agency rules, as well as the guidelines providedby the United States Sentencing Commission. But foreign organizations, in theory, have no real obligation to follow our lead. There have been several notable attempts in recent years to enact legislation on foreign organizations and impose sanctions for noncompliance, and it is likely a continuing trend as the compliance industry grows.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”), a federal agency, has recently moved to issue permits allowing hunters to bring back their trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe into the United States. Trophy hunting is the classified as legal shooting of animals under official government license for sport or enjoyment. Typically, as a reward and/or prize, the hunter gets to take home the “trophy”—the animal carcass or its remains. However, not all species can be hunted and there are restrictions on where and when the hunting can happen, in addition to limitations on the weapons that can be used for the kill.
Since its inception, compliance with the UN’s rules and regulations has been contentious for nations and individuals alike. Perhaps most prominent are the Security Council and the International Court of Justice, known internationally as sources of law for the maintenance of international peace and security. In theory, bodies like the Security Council and the International Court of Justice may presume member states’ compliance with their rules and regulations. Yet often the presumption of compliance is just that—in an effort to maintain its status as a peaceful international entity, the UN has limited enforcement power. The result is body of agreement, and not much else.
Chinese foreign investment policies have long favored investments that bring the country technological advances from foreign companies. In recent years, China has increasingly developed policies which force foreign companies to share their intellectual property with China and to allow Chinese companies to conduct business with the foreign country China has backed off their previous requirements to transfer such information in an attempt to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization (“WTO”) since joining the organization in September of 2001. Evidenced by President Donald Trump recently signing a directive to initiate an investigation into Chinese trade practices regarding the attainment of intellectual property from foreign companies, many companies and trade organizations believe that China is not adequately protecting intellectual property rights of foreign companies.