Syndicate content

Developments

Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security Helps BIS Secure $1.75 Million Enforcement Settlement

On May 24, 2012, the Office of Chief Counsel for Industry and Security (OCC/IS) assisted the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in reaching a settlement agreement under which Ericsson de Panama, S.A. agreed to pay $1.75 million to address 262 violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  BIS charged Ericsson de Panama with implementing a scheme to evade the EAR over a multi-year period, with regard to telecommunications equipment owned by the Cuban Government.  The equipment was shipped to Panama, where it was repackaged to conceal its Cuban markings, sent with falsified paperwork to the United States for repair or replacement, and then exported back to Cuba via transshipment through Panama.  The equipment involved is controlled under the EAR for national security, anti-terrorism, encryption, and sanctions reasons.  The settlement also requires an external audit of all 2012 transactions involving items subject to the EAR that are exported or re-exported to Cuban customers by Ericsson de Panama or any of its corporate affiliates. 

This settlement represents the latest in BIS’s enforcement efforts to ensure the integrity of the export control system.  BIS plays an integral part in advancing the nation’s security, foreign policy, and economic interests, and investigations and settlements like this one uphold this vital mission.  OCC/IS represents and supports BIS in all administrative enforcement matters. 

Commercial Law Development Program Assists Egypt in Revitalizing Its Civil Service and Increasing Transparency

Alternate Text

The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), a component of the Office of the General Counsel, met with the Egyptian Government as part of continuing efforts to help Egypt foster transparency, integrity, and ethical conduct within its ministries. This critical work is part of the larger Administration-wide effort to achieve the objectives set out by the Obama Administration and the G8 under the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.

On May 15, 2012, Assistant General Counsel for Administration Barbara Fredericks, Deputy Chief of the Labor and Employment Law Division John Guenther, and CLDP Chief Counsel Stephen Gardner delivered an anti-corruption presentation focused on addressing government, business, and development issues.  The program was attended by representatives of the Egyptian government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, and the general public.  Ms. Fredericks and Mr. Guenther discussed various ways in which Egypt can revitalize its civil service and open the lines of communication between the government and its citizens.  This presentation built on previous CLDP work with the Egyptian Government to create pilot projects with the Egyptian Trademark Office and the Egyptian Customs Authority to review ethics standards and general codes of conduct and to share expertise in best management practices. 

CLDP will continue working closely with the Egyptian Government on these issues as Department of Commerce attorneys provide guidance on draft regulations, deliver training to civil servants throughout the country, and serve as counselors to senior Egyptian officials that are working to create more functional, dependable, and transparent government services.  The work will benefit both Egyptian and U.S. businesses by fostering a level playing field as well as promoting transparency and fair regulations.

GC Kerry Testified Before Senate Commerce Committee

GC Kerry

On May 9, 2012, General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry testified before the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing on The Need for Privacy Protections: Perspectives from the Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. Speaking on behalf of the Administration, Mr. Kerry called for baseline consumer privacy legislation giving the force of law to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as articulated by the Administration’s privacy blueprint, Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy.

A video of the hearing and Mr. Kerry’s full written testimony can be found on the Senate Commerce Committee’s website.

Guidance Published on Implementation of Administration Policy on Scientific Integrity

On March 30, 2012 General Counsel Kerry updated prior memoranda implementing the Administration Policy on Scientific Integrity.  The update provides additional guidance consistent with the policy recommendations of Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), who issued an Administration policy on scientific integrity, implementing a Presidential memorandum of March 9, 2009.  In particular, the memorandum promotes the accurate and clear presentation of scientific and technological information to the public and further supports the professional development of Department personnel.  This memorandum establishes policy directives for the Department of Commerce to ensure the highest integrity of science and scientific products developed and utilized by the Department and its bureaus.  The updated memorandum and the December 6th and June 15th memoranda are attached below.

Files

General Counsel Kerry delivers remarks at Suffolk University’s 2012 Global Sustainability Conference “Why Global Bribery Is Not A Market Entry Strategy: Corruption In The Global Marketplace.”

Today, General Counsel Kerry delivered remarks on Department of Commerce efforts to level the playing field for American businesses by working with international partners to implement anticorruption and anti-bribery measures.  The remarks were delivered at Suffolk University at the Center for Global Business Ethics and Law 2012 Global Sustainability Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.  General Counsel Kerry's speech highlighted that “fighting corruption is a priority for the United States Government.  We have been working with other countries to encourage them to join us in the fight – and our work is bearing fruit.  This Administration is dedicated to striking the right balance between fostering commerce and promoting good conduct by the business community. I don’t see this as a trade-off. I think we can have both, and that we should have both.” 

The Department of Commerce remains committed to fostering economic growth and job creation both at home and abroad, and efforts to encourage anticorruption measures throughout the world provide a more open, transparent, and lucrative business environment both for US businesses and international partners.

CLDP's 20th Anniversary Event

GC Kerry moderating a discussion at the CLDP 20th Anniversary Event

The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) was created in February, 1992 and on February 23, 2012, the Office of the General Counsel hosted an event to thank the institutions and the individuals who created CLDP and/or helped it grow, and to reflect on lessons learned. General Counsel Kerry presented awards to several USG officials and private sector experts who have made important contributions to CLDP programs and to the strengthening of the rule of law worldwide.

In a discussion moderated by General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry, Judge Bernice B. Donald from the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, and Judge Delissa Ridgway from the US Court of International Trade, reflected on their experiences doing work for CLDP in many countries over the years. Both judges concluded that the judicial capacity building programs conducted by CLDP have resulted in two significant changes: foreign judges now realize that they can play a significant role in the economic development of their countries; they have now the expertise and the confidence to help bring about the judicial environment, adapted to their country’s specific context, that are conducive to foreign investment and trade.

The program also featured remarks by Commerce Secretary Bryson on the importance of a modern and fair commercial law environment for US firms that export or invest overseas, by Ambassador William Taylor, Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions at the US Department of State, on CLDP’s ability to respond promptly to State’s priorities for technical assistance in commercial law, and by Linda Wells, founder of CLDP, on the genesis and growth of the program.

General Counsel Kerry Amplifies President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Protection Message in Europe

by Cameron F. Kerry

As co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy, I am proud to have worked on the Obama administration’s comprehensive blueprint to improve consumer privacy protections, the "Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy" (PDF).  As the president stated in the report, “we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value.  It has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”

This is the message I took to European lawmakers, officials, and businesses about the administration’s privacy policy framework. Central to the framework is the tenet that consumers who have confidence their privacy is respected are more likely to express themselves online, engage in commercial activity, and form social connections on the Internet. Consumer trust is essential for a strong digital economy, which in turn provides a platform for greater innovation and job creation.

In today’s Internet age, our world is no longer easily defined by national borders.  Information flows around the world as companies seek to meet the demands of international customers and individuals share their lives and experiences globally. Finding ways to protect personal information while facilitating cross-border data flows is a central aim of the administration’s privacy blueprint.

Over the course of my meetings in Europe, I talked about the president’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and our commitment to promote the free flow of information by fostering the interoperability of international privacy frameworks. I discussed the importance of building on tools such as the EU-US Safe Harbor Framework that have helped to protect consumer information while facilitating international trade.

I look forward to continuing our work at the Department of Commerce to implement the administration’s privacy blueprint. Last week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a request for comments as it prepares to begin convening stakeholders to develop codes of conduct based on the Consumer Bill of Rights, and on March 19 the EU's Justice Directorate General will come to Washington, D.C. to discuss the Safe Harbor Framework and other tools for the global flow of information.

Administration Releases Blueprint for Consumer Privacy in the Global Digital Economy

On February 23, 2012, Commerce Secretary John Bryson (remarks here) and Director of the White House National Economic Council Gene B. Sperling (White House press release here) announced the release of Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy.  This comprehensive blueprint will guide efforts to protect privacy and assure continued innovation in the Internet economy by providing flexible implementation mechanisms to ensure privacy protections keep up with rapidly-changing technologies.  In it, President Obama declares that privacy “has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.” 

The Administration advocates for legislation implementing broad baseline privacy protections founded on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights set forth in its paper.  Even before legislation is passed, however, the President calls on his Administration to advance the Bill of Rights principles and the Department of Commerce to convene multistakeholder efforts to produce codes of conduct that will protect consumers immediately.  The framework laid out by the Administration will promote the growing digital economy by providing consumers and businesses a clear set of rules of the road to build trust, and promoting international interoperability of privacy regimes.

The  Administration’s paper is the culmination of over two years of work led by the Commerce Department.  On December 16, 2010, the Department issued a report detailing initial policy recommendations aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economy growth.  Following the release of the report, the Department received written comments and met with numerous stakeholders to explore privacy issues.  Under the leadership of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy co-chaired by General Counsel Cameron Kerry, the Administration built on the Department of Commerce’s report to develop the Administration’s privacy blueprint.

For additional information, please see the White House blog post or Secretary Bryon's blog post about protecting consumers' online privacy while encouraging economic growth.

Files

Cameron Kerry Discusses Internet Issues with an EU Digital Forum

In an interviEUw with viEUws.eu, a digital forum for EU debate, General Counsel Cameron Kerry discusses issues including data security, data privacy, Safe Harbor, net neutrality, the global free flow of information, and international interoperability. Click on the photo below to go to vieuws.eu and watch the video.

go to viEUws.eu to watch the video