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Legal Report Resources April 2017

​Surveillance. European Union (EU) member states may not impose general obligations on electronic communications services to retain data, the EU Court of Justice recently ruled. The decision was a blow to the recently enacted U.K. Investigatory Powers Law, which allows the U.K. Home Department secretary of state to require public telecommunications operators to retain all data related to communications for no more than 12 months.

Privacy. U.S. agencies published a final rule that requires contract employees who handle personally identifiable information (PII) or work with a system of records to complete privacy training. 

Corruption. Brazilian global construction conglomerate Odebrecht S.A. and petrochemical company Braskem pleaded guilty and agreed to pay penalties of at least $3.5 billion to resolve U.S., Brazilian, and Swiss charges of bribery.

Cheating. Volkswagen will plead guilty to three U.S. criminal felony counts and pay a $2.8 billion penalty to resolve a U.S. federal criminal investigation into its cheating on emissions tests. The plea is the result of Volkswagen’s long-running scheme to sell roughly 590,000 diesel vehicles in the United States by using a defeat device to cheat emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Wildlife trafficking. China will ban all ivory commerce by the end of the year following years of growing pressure to shut down the world’s largest ivory market. The shutdown will occur in phases, and the first step was the closure of legal ivory processing factories and businesses by March 31.

Email. U.S. lawmakers reintroduced legislation that would update privacy protections for electronic communications information stored by third-party service providers. The Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387) would updated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to require all U.S. government agencies obtain a warrant to search Americans’ online communications, regardless of when the email was written.

Firearms. A U.S. appeals court found that California’s 10-day waiting period to purchase a firearm is a reasonable safety precaution for all individuals seeking to purchase a gun, regardless of if they have purchased a gun in the state before. 

Breaks. Employees on rest breaks must be relieved of all of their duties, the California Supreme Court ruled, finding that a security firm violated state law by requiring security guards to carry phones and radios and remain on call during rest breaks.