In 2018, Covington published the original version of its widely read primer on the Foreign Agents Registration Act, “FARA: A Guide for the Perplexed.” We have updated this primer periodically. Today, the firm released the latest edition of the primer, featuring new analysis of recent Department of Justice guidance regarding the scope of agency

Sustainability governs all policies and sectors of social and economic life. The goal of sustainable development is to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising the self-sufficiency of future generations. Companies are called upon to innovate as economic conditions indicate a change in the direction of sustainability. Sustainability considerations and green developments have increasingly caught the attention of competition law’s enforcers. Competition authorities such as the European Commission (“Commission”), the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”), the Dutch Competition Authority (“ACM”) and the German Competition Authority (“Bka”) have taken a positive stance towards accepting sustainability initiatives proposed by the private sector. How can companies balance both sustainability and competition law? In this blog post, we analyze recent developments that further explain the sustainability framework that companies have to navigate.

2023 will likely see employment lawyers and HR professionals (in the UK and further afield) grappling with a number of key employment-related legal and policy developments. In this alert we highlight some of the most important ones.

  • Brexit: The Employment Law Fallout
  • When the UK left the European Union on 31 December 2020, a “snapshot”

    On December 9, 2022, the European Commissioner for Justice and Consumer Protection, Didier Reynders, announced that the European Commission will focus its next 2023 mandate on regulating dark patterns, alongside transparency in the online advertising market and cookie fatigue. As part of this mandate, the EU’s Consumer Protection Cooperation (“CPC”) Network, conducted a sweep of 399 retail websites and apps for dark patterns, and found that nearly 40% of online shopping websites rely on manipulative practices to exploit consumers’ vulnerabilities or trick them.

    In order to enforce these issues, the EU does not have a single legislation that regulates dark patterns, but there are multiple regulations that discuss dark patterns and that may be used as a tool to protect consumers from dark patterns. This includes the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), the Digital Services Act (“DSA”), the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), and the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (“UCPD”), as well as proposed regulations such as the AI Act and Data Act.

    As a result, there are several regulations and guidelines that organizations must consider when assessing whether their practices may be deemed as a dark pattern. In this blog post, we will provide a snapshot of the current EU legislation that regulates dark patterns as well as upcoming legislative updates that will regulate dark patterns alongside the current legal framework.

    Sustainability governs all policies and sectors of social and economic life. The goal of sustainable development is to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising the self-sufficiency of future generations. Companies are called upon to innovate as economic conditions indicate a change in the direction of sustainability. Sustainability considerations and green developments have increasingly caught the attention of competition law’s enforcers. Competition authorities such as the European Commission (“Commission”), the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”), the Dutch Competition Authority (“ACM”) and the German Competition Authority (“Bka”) have taken a positive stance towards accepting sustainability initiatives proposed by the private sector. How can companies balance both sustainability and competition law? In this blog post, we analyze recent developments that further explain the sustainability framework that companies have to navigate.

    On January 18, 2023, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) published a report on the outcome of its investigation into the use of cloud-based services by the public sector.

    The EDPB prepared the report as part of its first coordinated enforcement action under the Coordinated Enforcement Framework (“Framework”), a key part of the EDPB’s 2021-2023 strategy. The Framework facilitates coordinated actions between the EDPB and national data protection authorities to (i) share information and best practices on a topic related to data privacy, and (ii) provide recommendations to better support compliance with data protection laws. Through the Framework, the EDPB and national authorities investigate compliance with a specific data protection topic each year; in 2023, the EDPB will investigate the designation and role of data protection officers (“DPOs”).

    This blog summarizes the main takeaways of the 2022 Coordinated Enforcement Action, and highlights its most relevant data privacy concerns.

    On 26 January 2023, the UK’s Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (“PMCPA”) published its “Social Media Guidance 2023” (the “Guidance”).

    The Guidance is the first of its kind in the UK and is long-awaited. 

    The PMCPA is the self-regulatory body that administers and enforces the ABPI Code (the voluntary advertising code that many pharmaceutical companies adhere to in the UK).  The ABPI Code sets out a number of overarching principles but does not address social media in detail.  The PMCPA had some years ago published “digital guidelines” but these were archived for updating.

    The first – and probably most important – thing to say about the Guidance is that it (finally) exists.  Social media has become a major compliance headache for UK pharmaceutical companies.  These days a significant number of PMCPA complaints, investigations and adjudications concern corporate or employee social media activity, particularly on LinkedIn.  The absence of clear and codified guidance until now led to a lack of clarity.  Key regulatory principles had evolved through a series of case rulings, which were often highly fact-dependent.  While dissecting cases into the early hours may be interesting for us pharmaceutical advertising lawyers, compliance teams will likely appreciate having codified guidelines to refer to.

    Secondly, the Guidance is likely to disappoint anyone hoping for seismic shifts in the PMCPA’s regulatory approach.  Much of the Guidance aligns closely to rules and principles that had developed in the Authority’s case history.  It also broadly aligns with EFPIA’s and IFPMA’s recently published “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Social Media and Digital Media Channels” (see our blog post).

    A U.S. District Court Judge in California dismissed a putative class action asserting claims under section 637.7 of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) in a case that could have useful implications for automotive and other device manufacturers whose products have the ability to track location.  Plaintiff claimed that a third-party company, Otonomo Inc., partnered with automobile manufacturers to use the telematics control units (TCUs) installed in their vehicles to track a driver’s location via GPS without the driver’s knowledge.  The Court rejected the claim, holding that because the TCU devices were built-in, rather than devices added to a vehicle, they were not “attached” to the car and thus did not fall within the statute’s definition of “electronic tracking device.”

    Executive Summary

    In this alert, we look at Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s first months in office and the outlook for his reform agenda in 2023.  We discuss the implications for U.S.-Colombia relations and for doing business in the country.

    • Petro’s election has led to a reconfiguration of power structures in Colombia and a change in the way policies are designed and implemented. The administration has a statist bent and views the private sector’s role as less prominent than prior administrations. There is less emphasis on attracting investment.
    • This year will be crucial for Petro’s reform agenda and for his party, Pacto Histórico. The government’s energy transition policy and labor, health care, and pension reforms will shape Colombia’s economy in the decades to come and companies will need to be on notice that coming changes may be profound.
    • The Biden and Petro administrations have made efforts to find common ground. But the change of leadership in the House of Representatives, the proximity of the 2024 U.S. presidential election, an emboldened Florida GOP, and implementation of controversial reforms in Colombia could test the relationship in 2023.
    • Security remains a key concern for companies doing business in Colombia and conditions have deteriorated in the past few years. Progress on peace negotiations and the government’s new crime and drug policies will determine whether conditions improve.

    Petro’s First Months in Office

    “Today begins the Colombia of the possible. Today begins our second opportunity,” Petro told a cheering crowd in Bogotá on August 7. His inauguration as President of Colombia, he said, marked the end of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude for the Colombian people. The election and orderly transition to a left-wing former guerrilla president and the first Afro-Colombian vice president in the country’s history showed the strength of Colombia’s democracy, one of the oldest and most stable in the Americas.

    On January 18, 2023, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) published a report setting out the common positions of the EDPB and EEA member state supervisory authorities (“SAs”) with respect to interpreting the EU rules applying to cookies. SAs will take these common positions into account when handling cookie complaints.

    The report was drafted by the EDPB’s Cookie Banner Taskforce (“Taskforce”), which is composed of the EDPB and 18 SAs. However, the report does not have the same interpretative value as EDPB guidance. Moreover, SAs will not take into account the positions mentioned in the report in isolation – they will also take into account additional national requirements stemming from the national laws transposing the ePrivacy Directive and SAs’ national guidance.