UK Secretary of State Karen Bradley recently confirmed that the United Kingdom will implement the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the regulation by which the European Commission intends to strengthen data protection for individuals within the European Union. UK companies will be expected to comply with the GDPR when it takes effect in May 2018. Secretary Bradley made the announcement last week during her appearance before the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. We’ve previously covered data privacy compliance considerations for UK companies and their business partners after the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union by a referendum vote in June 2016.

On October 19, US banking agencies released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comments on enhanced cybersecurity standards. These standards potentially would apply to

  • US bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more,
  • foreign banking organizations’ US operations with US assets of $50 billion or more, and
  • other types of entities under the jurisdiction of the ANPR-issuing agencies and such entities' service providers.

The ANPR would create a tiered system of standards aimed at reducing cyber risk and preventing financial sector disruptions because of cyber events.

On October 19, the US Department of Commerce and the Personal Information Protection Commission of Japan announced their commitment to expand the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system that applies to cross-border data exchanges within the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2011, APEC leaders agreed to design a framework to encourage cross-border data flows, with the CBPR system ensuring common privacy and data protection principles and enforcement coordination. Under the CBPR system, an Accountability Agent (an independent third party verifier that reviews the business's privacy policies and practices) may designate a business that maintains certain minimum privacy standards as CBPR-certified.

On October 6, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler released a factsheet outlining proposed rules aimed at protecting broadband consumers’ privacy. The proposed rules would apply to internet service providers (ISPs) and cover data collection, usage, security, and breach notification.

If adopted, ISPs would need to notify their consumers about the types of data being collected, when and how collected consumer data can be shared, and the types of entities with which ISPs can share the information. ISPs would also be required to adopt reasonable measures to protect consumer data from data breaches and other vulnerabilities.

On October 13, partner Andrew Lipman will present a webinar, “The 2016 Election: Telecom, Media, and Tech Impacts.” The webinar will cover the pre- and post-election legal and regulatory landscapes applicable to the telecom, media, and technology industries.

Andrew will discuss various consequences of the election results on US Congress, federal courts, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US Department of Justice, and other government agencies. He will also specifically cover the FCC’s policies on competition and antitrust, net neutrality, spectrum ownership, broadband deployment and adoption, consumer privacy, and data security.

The webinar will be held October 13, 2016 from 2:00-3:00 pm eastern. To learn more and to sign up, please visit the webinar’s event page.

As of September 30, Russian state authorities now reject tender submissions for supply of certain foreign electronic equipment if there are two concurrent submissions for supply of locally produced equipment. The ban applies to 113 types of equipment, including personal computers, printers, memory cards, mobile and landline phones, TV sets, cameras, microphones, and cash and ATM machines.

Electronic equipment may qualify as local if it is produced under a special investment contract between an investor and federal or regional government or if it is fully manufactured or significantly reprocessed in Russia. Some additional localization criteria specific for certain equipment also applies.

As part of our Sourcing and Technology Lunchtime Series, partners Michael Pillion and Peter Watt-Morse recently spoke during their webinar “The Next Frontier: How Robots and Automation are Changing Outsourcing and Technology Agreements.”

The webinar highlighted the emerging market for robotic process automation and artificial intelligence software and the adjustments to services, pricing models, and contractual provisions that arise from adopting this technology.

Listen to the webinar and review the PowerPoint presentation >>

In our earlier Contract Corner post, we reviewed issues related to the term of a contract. In Part 2, we discuss considerations regarding renewal of that term.

Renewal: Practical Considerations

Many contracts contain no provisions regarding renewal, and the term simply ends after a specified period of time. Frequently, this is appropriate. For example, contracts will end when a specific project has been completed or by a specified date for reasons related to intellectual property, third-party agreements, or specific business requirements. On the other hand, renewal should not be overlooked. The parties may have incurred significant startup costs (including negotiating efforts) and want to avoid repeating those costs. For customers, the goods or services (or the price or quality of such deliveries) may not be available from other vendors. For vendors, the customer may be an important client that competitors prize. Therefore, before finalizing the term of any contract, potential renewal provisions should be reviewed.

In Part 1, we provided an introduction to "Blockchain," the distributed ledger technology behind Bitcoin. In Part 2, we discuss some of the business and legal obstacles standing in the way of widespread acceptance of this technology.

As recently highlighted in a Financial Times article, key aspects of distributed ledger technology present some of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Blockchains are trusted because they offer accountability and transparency, but those features raise questions regarding privacy, scalability, and legal regulation.

What is the term of your contract? It is one of the most basic questions with regard to any agreement, but drafting provisions regarding the "Term" raises multiple issues, both legal and practical.

In Part 1 of our two-part post on this subject, we review some important considerations to keep in mind when drafting this common contract provision.

Effective Date. Defining the date a contract begins is the first step in establishing the term. However, frequently, determining the start date of a signed contract is not straightforward. Contracts can be "dated" on a date, "effective" or "commence" on a date, and/or contain blanks for dates to be completed under signature lines. Many times, a signed contract will contain blanks to be completed for each of these possibilities, and such blanks will be filled in with different dates, or some/all of the blanks will never be completed.