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What Your Business Needs to Know about the EU Cybersecurity Certification Framework

Increased connectivity begets increased cyber threats. Here’s how this new act can protect your devices from hackers. Read


Preparing for the 2020 DOL Changes under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Avoid the pitfalls of noncompliance ⁠— and hefty fines ⁠— with these strategies. Read


How a Proposal for German Corporate Criminal Reform Would Affect Privilege and Internal Investigations

If the Corporate Sanctions Act is adopted in current form, German in-house counsel may face challenges with investigations. Read


EU Regulators Finally Clarify Scope of GDPR

Answers to the pressing questions: "Does the GDPR apply to my organization, and if so, to what extent?" Read


Blockchain Basics: Global Regulations

Blockchain’s regulatory landscape is unsettled and constantly shifting. Here's what to watch on the horizon. Read


In Brief

Today's Top Story

Google Ordered to Reveal Author of Australian Dentist's Bad Review

An Australian court has ordered Google to identify the person behind an anonymous bad review of dentist Dr. Matthew Kabbabe. Kabbabe is a teeth-whitening specialist based in Melbourne. The BBC (14 February) notes that he sought the information in order to sue for defamation. The anonymous reviewer operated under the username CBsm 23, and urged potential patients to "stay away" from Kabbabe's "extremely awkward and uncomfortable" procedure. Google has previously allowed anonymous negative rulings through its review services, but Australian Justice Bernard Murphy's ruling forces the tech giant's hand. Under the order, Google will be required to pass to Kabbabe any personal details such as any names, phone numbers, location metadata, and IP addresses linked to the account. Murphy said Kabbabe had grounds to pursue a defamation case. Google has not yet offered comment on the ruling. In the past, the tech giant has been reluctant to remove bad reviews, but has done so in several instances following court rulings.

From "Google Ordered to Reveal Author of Australian Dentist's Bad Review"
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Legal Actions

China's Huawei Charged with Racketeering, Stealing Trade Secrets

The Trump administration charged Huawei and two of its US subsidiaries were charged with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to steal trade secrets in a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, reports the Wall Street Journal (13 February, Ramey, O'Keeffe). The charges opened a new front in the US battle against China-based Huawei, amping up pressure on the company. US officials have long held national security concerns about Huawei, and are urging allies to freeze Huawei out of their next generation mobile networks. The indictment was filed in federal court in Brooklyn and expands upon allegations originally made in January 2019 that Huawei committed financial fraud and violated US sanctions on Iran. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said the new charges related to a decadeslong effort by Huawei and its subsidiaries, in the United States and China, to steal intellectual property, including from six US technology companies. Prosecutors said Huawei’s efforts were successful and resulted in the company obtaining nonpublic intellectual property about robotics, cellular-antenna technology and internet-router source code.

From "China's Huawei Charged with Racketeering, Stealing Trade Secrets"
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Judge Temporarily Blocks Microsoft Pentagon Cloud Contract After Amazon Suit

A federal judge Thursday ordered a temporary block on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft, in response to a suit filed by Amazon, reports CNBC (13 February, Palmer). A court notice announcing the injunction was filed Thursday, but the details were not made public. It was not immediately clear why the judge temporarily blocked the JEDI contract. The cloud computing project is intended to modernize the Pentagon’s IT operations, and could be worth up to US$10 billion over 10 years. Microsoft won the contract on 25 October, but Amazon claimed "unmistakable bias" in the Pentagon's decision. Both the Pentagon and Microsoft criticized the judge's decision to temporarily block the contract.

From "Judge Temporarily Blocks Microsoft Pentagon Cloud Contract After Amazon Suit"
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Mergers and Acquisitions

Swiss Propose Reforming Takeover Code to Align With European Union

The Swiss government has proposed a rules change that would bring its takeover policies in line with the European Union, reports Bloomberg (12 February, Bosley). Swiss officials believe that adjusting the code would make it easier for cross-border takeovers to go smoothly. The new Swiss standard, which is already used by most EU members, would allow authorities to intervene if a deal were to significantly impede competition. At present, intervention is only triggered if an acquisition completely obstructs competition. The Swiss Economy Ministry must draft the proposed statute, before a consultation process begins late this year. The bill must also be approved by parliament.

From "Swiss Propose Reforming Takeover Code to Align With European Union"
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Board/Management Relations

CooperCompanies Appoints Successor to General Counsel

Mark Drury has been promoted to the role of vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at CooperCompanies, effective February 15, reports Corporate Secretary (13 February, Maiden). Drury joined the firm in January 2011 and is currently the company's deputy general counsel. Drury succeeds Randal Golden, who became corporate secretary in May 2018, having been general counsel since February 2014.

From "CooperCompanies Appoints Successor to General Counsel"
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Technology

Half of UK Technology Workers Want to Find a New Job in 2020

A survey by recruitment firm Harvey Nash found half of 1,200 technology professionals in the United Kingdom would like to switch jobs in 2020, reports ComputerWeekly.com (13 February, Mari), with salary and work-life balance the most important drivers. Meanwhile, 40 percent of respondents working for employers with a "high social purpose" cited the desire to change, compared to 56 percent who work for other types of companies; female respondents were 50 percent more likely to view social purpose as crucial when choosing a job.

From "Half of UK Technology Workers Want to Find a New Job in 2020"
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Data Privacy

Cabinet Approves New Rules to Regulate Social Media

Pakistan's federal cabinet on Wednesday approved a new set of rules regulating digital and social media companies, reports Pakistan Today (13 February). Under the new rules, social media companies must register with the Pakistan government within three months. They are also required in that three-month window to establish a permanent registered office in Pakistan with a physical address in Islamabad. Social media companies must appoint a liaison in Pakistan to coordinate with the government. And within 12 months of the rules' passage, social media companies must establish one or more database servers to record and store data and online content. Pakistan also wants social media companies to remove content that violates or affects the religious, cultural, ethnic, or national security sensitivities of Pakistan. The rules apply to social media behemoths, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

From "Cabinet Approves New Rules to Regulate Social Media"
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Russian Court Fines Facebook, Twitter Over Data Storage

A court in Moscow fined Twitter and Facebook 4 million rubles (US$63,000) each Thursday for refusing to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, reports MarketWatch (13 February). The fines are the first five-figure fines levied on tech companies since Russia adopted a flurry of legislation starting in 2012 designed to tighten the government's grip on online activity. Russia's internet regulator, Roskomnadzor, has tried unsuccessfully for several years to force large technology companies to move Russian user data to Russia. Commenting on the court rulings, Roskomnadzor said Twitter and Facebook would be fined 18 million rubles (US$283,000) each if they don't comply this year.

From "Russian Court Fines Facebook, Twitter Over Data Storage"
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Energy

PG&E's Fire Victims Are Set to Become Its Biggest Shareholders

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) proposes to pay half of its US$13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims in company shares, a move that would make victims the utility's largest shareholders, reports the Wall Street Journal (13 February, Blunt). But it also could jeopardize payments if PG&E sparks future fires because it would tie future payments to the future prospects of the utility, which continues to find ways to reduce the effect of an aging electrical grid. The trust would own 20.9 percent of PG&E's shares upon the company's emergence from chapter 11 and gradually sell the stakes over several years to compensate individuals who lost family members and property.

From "PG&E's Fire Victims Are Set to Become Its Biggest Shareholders"
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Telecommunications

Vodafone and TPG Merger Given Green Light by Federal Court

A merger between Vodafone Australia and TPG has been cleared to go ahead, after a decision in the federal court, reports the Guardian (13 February, Taylor). Australia’s consumer watchdog opposed a merger between the telecommunications companies in May last year because it would discourage competition in the mobile market. But federal court justice John Middleton said on Thursday the merger would not “substantially lessen competition” in the market.

From "Vodafone and TPG Merger Given Green Light by Federal Court"
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Transportation

Tesla Faces New SEC Probe as It Raises US$2 Billion in Share Issue

Tesla announced plans to raise up to US$2.3 billion by issuing fresh shares even as it disclosed that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was scrutinizing its “financing arrangements,” reports the Financial Times (13 February, Campbell). The carmaker disclosed in its annual filing that the SEC had in December issued a subpoena for information on its financing arrangements. Tesla also disclosed that the US Department of Justice had issued a voluntary request for information about its projections for production rates of its mass market Model 3 vehicle.

From "Tesla Faces New SEC Probe as It Raises US$2 Billion in Share Issue"
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Media

McClatchy Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Newspaper publisher McClatchy has filed for bankruptcy protection reports the Associated Press (13 February, Chapman). McClatchy’s 30 newsrooms will continue to operate as usual as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. McClatchy filed for bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Its restructuring plan needs approval from its secured lenders, bondholders, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

From "McClatchy Files for Bankruptcy Protection"
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