The British North America Legislative Database includes characteristics of all the legislation passed by the pre-Confederation assemblies of eastern British North America: Nova Scotia (1758-1867); Cape Breton (1785-1820); Prince Edward Island (1768-1867); New Brunswick (1786-1867); Lower Canada (1792-1838); Upper Canada (1792-1840), the United Canadas (1841-1867); and Newfoundland (1832-1867).
This Law Library of Congress report examines the emerging regulatory and policy landscape surrounding artificial intelligence in jurisdictions around the world and in the European Union. In addition, a survey of international organizations describes the approach that United Nations agencies and regional organizations have taken towards AI.
From the European Commission press release:
Following the publication of the draft ethics guidelines in December 2018 to which more than 500 comments were received, the independent expert group presents today their ethics guidelines for trustworthy artificial intelligence.
Trustworthy AI should respect all applicable laws and regulations, as well as a series of requirements; specific assessment lists aim to help verify the application of each of the key requirements:
- Human agency and oversight: AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy.
- Robustness and safety: Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems.
- Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them.
- Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured.
- Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility.
- Societal and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility.
- Accountability: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes.
In summer 2019, the Commission will launch a pilot phase involving a wide range of stakeholders. Already today, companies, public administrations and organisations can sign up to the European AI Alliance and receive a notification when the pilot starts.
Following the pilot phase, in early 2020, the AI expert group will review the assessment lists for the key requirements, building on the feedback received. Building on this review, the Commission will evaluate the outcome and propose any next steps.
From the summary of Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements (RL33865, Mar. 18, 2019):
Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms.
From the abstract for Paul M. Schwartz, Global Data Privacy: The EU Way (New York University Law Review, Vol. 94, 2019):
EU data protection law is playing an increasingly prominent role in today’s global technological environment. The cornerstone of EU law in this area, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is now widely regarded as a privacy law not just for the EU, but for the world. In the conventional wisdom, the EU has become the world’s privacy cop, acting in a unilateral fashion and exercising de facto influence over other nations through its market power. Yet, understanding the forces for convergence and divergence in data privacy law demands a more nuanced account of today’s regulatory environment.
In contrast to the established narrative about EU power, this Article develops a new account of the diffusion of EU data protection law. It does so through case studies of Japan and the United States that focus on how these countries have negotiated the terms for international data transfers from the EU. The resulting account reveals the EU to be both collaborative and innovative.
Finally, this Article identifies two overarching factors that have promoted the global diffusion of EU data protection law. The first such factor regards legal substance. Public discourse on consumer privacy has evolved dramatically, and important institutions and prominent individuals in many non-EU jurisdictions now acknowledge the appeal of EU-style data protection. Beyond substance, the EU has benefited from the accessibility of its omnibus legislative approach; other jurisdictions have been drawn to the EU’s highly transplantable legal model. In short, the world has weighed in, and the EU is being rewarded for its success in the marketplace of regulatory ideas.
From Strategic Competition and Foreign Policy: What is “Political Warfare”? (IF 11127, Mar. 8, 2019): “Political Warfare” is a term that has recently been reinvigorated by scholars of strategy; it describes the synchronized use of any aspect of national power short of overt conventional warfare — such as intelligence assets, alliance building, financial tools, diplomatic relations, to name a few — to achieve state objectives.
See related CRS Report, Information Warfare: Issues for Congress (R45142, Mar. 5, 2018)
From the introduction to NAFTA Renegotiation and the Proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) (R44981, Feb. 26, 2019):
The 116th Congress faces policy issues related to the Trump Administration’s renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). On May 18, 2017, the Trump Administration sent a 90-day notification to Congress of its intent to begin talks with Canada and Mexico to renegotiate and modernize NAFTA, as required by the 2015 Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Talks officially began on August 16, 2017. Negotiations were concluded on September 30, 2018. The proposed USMCA was signed on November 30, 2018. The agreement must be approved by Congress and ratified by the governments of Mexico and Canada before it can enter into force.
President Trump’s recent tariff actions raise a number of significant issues for Congress. These issues include the economic effects of tariffs on firms, farmers, and workers, and the overall U.S. economy, the appropriate use of delegated authorities in line with congressional intent, and the potential implications and impact of these measures for broader U.S. trade policy, particularly with respect to the U.S. role in the global trading system. This extensive FAQ by the Congressional Research Service examines these issues in detail.
From the abstract for Hans Morten Haugen, Is Internet Access a Human Right? For Everyone or Just Persons with Disabilities?:
Allegations that Internet access is a human right is a popular perception, reflected in media reports. The most explicit basis is found in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Acknowledging that private actors are essential in providing Internet services, the CRPD Article 21(c) explicitly urges them to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats. It is not common that human rights treaties specify the role of private actors with such explicit wording. A review of relevant international law sources, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), finds that there is no basis in international law for stating that Internet access is a human rights. On the other hand, rights and obligations on Internet access and accessibility is clearly outlined in the CRPD, finding that there is a human right to the Internet – with corresponding State obligation – for persons with disabilities. The article then identifies States’ compliance with its CRPD obligations in the realm of Internet, and finds severe weaknesses in public policies, but the adoption of a treaty on copyright exceptions applying to use by persons with disabilities is a positive recent development.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled is a key legal instrument adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2013. It sets out to end the book famine for visually impaired people around the world. The Treaty provisions allow institutions such as libraries, under specific circumstances, to produce and exchange accessible format copies of works, including across borders. By doing so, more works will be available for people with print disabilities.
IFLA is keeping track of changes at the national level to bring national legislations in line with the Treaty. This is important, as in almost all cases, for the Treaty to have an impact, there needs to be both ratification or accession to the Treaty, and national reform.
The monitoring report follows up on the previous edition from October 2018. Many countries have been added to the list, and several more have made legislative changes in their national law since then.
From the abstract for US Sovereignty in the Age of Trump – A European Perspective (Dec. 2018) by Ralph R. A. Janik:
Be it the WTO, the prohibition of torture, or the Paris Agreement: The Trump administration has been launching numerous challenges to international law. Countless commentators have lamented the decline of multilateralism and the so-called “Liberal World Order.” We may indeed be witnesses of the comeback of 19th century thinking on sovereignty and a return to Balance of Power Politics. Maybe they were never gone in the first place.
In his latest book, The Trump Administration and International Law (Oxford UP, 2018), Harold Hongju Koh provides an answer to the question that has perplexed international political and legal thinkers since President Donald Trump’s election: will the Trump administration’s policies permanently alter the post-war international order?
From the blurb for Harold Hongju Koh, The Trump Administration and International Law (Oxford UP, 2018):
Will Donald trump international law? Since Trump’s Administration took office, this question has haunted almost every issue area of international law. One of our leading international lawyers-a former Legal Adviser of the US State Department, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, and Yale Law Dean-argues that President Trump has thus far enjoyed less success than many believe, because he does not own the pervasive “transnational legal process” that governs these issue areas. This book shows how those opposing Trump’s policies during his administration’s first two years have successfully triggered that process as part of a collective counter-strategy akin to Muhammad Ali’s “rope-a-dope.” The book surveys immigration and refugee law, human rights, climate change, denuclearization, trade diplomacy, relations with North Korea, Russia and Ukraine, America’s “Forever War” against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and the ongoing tragedy in Syria. Koh’s tour d’horizon illustrates the many techniques that players in the transnational legal process have used to blunt Trump’s early initiatives. The high stakes of this struggle, and its broader implications for the future of global governance-now challenged by the rise of populist authoritarians-make this exhausting counter-strategy both worthwhile and necessary.
This Law Library of Congress report contains data on 131 countries, indicating whether or not published books are subject to a mandatory deposit requirement at the national level and, if so, how many copies are required, where they must be deposited, and whether the deposit is part of the copyright system. Citations to the controlling legislation for mandatory deposits are provided. In all but thirteen of the jurisdictions surveyed, deposits are required. For some of these thirteen jurisdictions, deposits are voluntary, while in others, no information regarding deposit practices could be found.
The Foreign Law Web Archive is a collection of foreign legal materials, including gazettes and judicial sites. Many foreign legal materials are now posted online, with some jurisdictions dispensing with a print publication entirely. Certain jurisdictions’ legal materials are challenging to acquire or considered at-risk of disappearing from the web. The Law Library of Congress is now archiving the legal materials of selected jurisdictions to ensure we can continue to provide comprehensive and timely access to foreign legal materials to researchers from across the world.
From the summary of International Law and Agreements: Their Effect upon U.S. Law (RL32528, Sept. 19, 2018):
The status of an international agreement within the United States depends on a variety of factors. Self-executing treaties have a status equal to federal statute, superior to U.S. state law, and inferior to the Constitution. Depending upon the nature of executive agreements, they may or may not have a status equal to federal statute. In any case, self-executing executive agreements have a status that is superior to U.S. state law and inferior to the Constitution. Courts generally have understood treaties and executive agreements that are not self-executing generally to have limited status domestically; rather, the legislation
or regulations implementing these agreements are controlling.
In yet another effort by the Trump administration to pull away from international organizations and agreements that it finds objectionable, yesterday the US withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, citing as its reason the Council’s frequent criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The Trump administration also likely wants to distance itself from a body critical of its own policies. New York Times story here. The Atlantic profiles the Human Rights Council here. — Joe
A Peace Treaty with North Korea? (R45169, April 19, 2018) “explores the possiblity of concluding a peace treaty with North Korea. Also known as a peace settlement or peace mechanism. North Korea always wants bilateral negotiations with the United States, but a peace treaty would require China, the other signator of the armistice that ended the Korean War. The United Nations Command, or UNC, would also be involved in negotiations. In the Six-Party talks, this idea was explored but fell apart, as it was in Four-Party Talks. Japan and Russia would also be concerned with any peace settlement. South Korean president Moon Jae-in has supported the idea and will push at the upcoming Inter-Korean summit. At stake is North Korea’s nuclear and missle programs and in what sequence the DPRK would denuclearize. Which comes first: treaty or denuclearization? Trump will hold a summit with Kim Jong-un soon, where this could be broached. China and Russia want parallel tracks to denuclearize and find a peace settlement. A question is what the impact would be on U.S. alliances in the region, including the presence of the U.S. military and the troops stationed in the region. Should a peace treaty be linked to North Korea’s human rights record or other factors? How closely should it be coordinated with South Korea? What is the U.S. and DPRK credibility for a deal?”
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani yesterday issued the following statement about the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families apprehended by immigration officers:
We are deeply concerned that the zero tolerance policy recently put in place along the US southern border has led to people caught entering the country irregularly being subjected to criminal prosecution and having their children – including extremely young children -taken away from them as a result.
The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child. While the rights of children are generally held in high regard in the US, it is the only country in the world not to have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We encourage it to accede to the Convention and to fully respect the rights of all children.
The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles. The child’s best interest should always come first, including over migration management objectives or other administrative concerns. It is therefore of great concern that in the US migration control appears to have been prioritised over the effective care and protection of migrant children.
Children should never be detained for reasons related to their own or their parents’ migration status. Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.
Information from various sources suggests that several hundred children have been separated from their families since last October. The practice of separating children from their parents is being applied to both asylum-seekers and other migrants in vulnerable situations, and we note that the American Civil Liberties Union has brought a class action case on behalf of hundreds of parents who have been forcibly separated from their children.
The majority of people arriving at the U.S.’s southern border have fled Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador – in many cases either because of rampant insecurity and violence, or because of violations of a range of other rights, such as health, education, and housing.
The US should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalizing what should at most be an administrative offence – that of irregular entry or stay in the US.
We call on the US authorities to adopt non-custodial alternatives that allow children to remain with their families and fulfil the best interests of the child, their right to liberty and their right to family life.