Category Archives: Sector Specific

Not just another tax: how to reflect environmental and social goals in legislation?

Tax legislators, product legislators and service legislators are sometimes confronted with the political wish to integrate environmental or social goals into regulation. This is an understandable wish, well intended. However, the devil is in the detail. We will see in this article where exactly, and how, the devil could possibly be outplayed. Continue reading Not just another tax: how to reflect environmental and social goals in legislation?

Regulating alcohol consumption in the absence of a medically determined safe level

According to The Lancet “alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss”1. In fact, it is the seventh leading risk factor globally for mortality and disease finding that “the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero”2. These results suggest that alcohol control policies and regulations that have traditionally focused on “responsible” or “safe” alcohol consumption might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption. Some states (eg. Australia) are currently reviewing their alcohol control regime and with The Lancet’s recent publication more jurisdictions are expected to follow. This howtoregulate article examines the international and national alcohol control regulations to determine good regulatory techniques that could assist states’ reviews of existing regulation. Continue reading Regulating alcohol consumption in the absence of a medically determined safe level

Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part II – outline of future regulation of AI

This Part II of the howtoregulate Report on Artificial Intelligence presents regulatory approaches for minimising the harms of artificial intelligence (AI), evidently without putting into question the utility of AI. What should regulation of AI look like? The answer to this question depends on the goals of the regulator. As was previously outlined in Part I, much of the goals of states today is to focus on incentivising innovative applications of AI or encouraging break through AI research. We could imagine, however, that the average regulator might also consider such goals as avoiding the risk that AI research or technology leads to the eradication of humankind and reducing other major risks for human beings to the extent that the expected positive effect of AI is not disproportionately hampered. Furthermore, regulators might feel compelled to deal with particular risks linked to specific technological uses. Continue reading Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part II – outline of future regulation of AI

Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part I – the existing regulatory landscape

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been placed front and centre in many countriesʼ economic strategies1, probably unsurprising as AI is one of the defining technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution2. Nascent AI regulation around the world today is characterised by soft approaches either aimed at incentivising innovation in the manufacturing or digital sectors or encouraging break through research. The ethical implications of AI are either regulated through specific AI codes in companies concerned with good corporate social responsibility, in research institutes (private or public) concerned with ethical research and innovation or not regulated at all. These AI ethical codes are not formally scrutinised by any public administration, nor are they legislatively required, and so it is difficult to assess the quality and effectiveness of such codes in minimising the negative implications of AI. The purpose of this howtoregulate report is to examine existing AI regulatory landscape (Part I) and present regulatory approaches for minimising the harms of AI (Part II – outline for future regulation of AI), evidently without putting into question the utility of AI. Continue reading Report on Artificial Intelligence: Part I – the existing regulatory landscape

Tobacco control regulations: Combating the world´s leading preventable cause of death

Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in the world today and accounts for around 12% of all adult deaths worldwide (more than 7 million people)1. Its effects are far-reaching and has implications along the supply chain: from the land used to grow tobacco instead of food, often in countries where food security is a concern, to the 63% of children of tobacco-growing families involved in child labour, to the environmental effects of smoke expelled into the air, the bystander and the smoker´s health2. This howtoregulate article focuses on tobacco control regulation and regulation for the emerging tobacco alternative electronic cigarettes. Continue reading Tobacco control regulations: Combating the world´s leading preventable cause of death

Countering “fake news”

Waves of parliament´s around the world are looking into the problem of “fake news”, including the UK Parliament1 (Green Paper: Internet Safety Strategy and Fake News Inquiry), the US Senate2 and the Singaporean Parliament3 (Green Paper: Deliberate Online Falsehoods). In early January 2018, the French President Macron said he would present a new law in order to fight the spread of “fake news”, which he said threatened democracies4. The Canadian Communications Security Establishment (CSE), in its report Cyber Threats to Canada´s Democratic Process, the first threat assessment of this kind in the world to be shared with the public said the Canadian Minister of Democratic Institutions5, states that: Continue reading Countering “fake news”

Research and Technology Risks: Part IV – A Prototype Regulation

The following prototype regulation shows that it is possible to cover all kinds of research and technology risks in one piece of regulation, making the currently practiced piece-meal approach superfluous. Compared with the practice of developing particular pieces of regulation e.g. for biotechnology, nuclear science, geo-engineering and always running behind the new technologies popping-up, this regulatory approach permits an easy handling and a faster and more complete coverage of research and technology risks. Continue reading Research and Technology Risks: Part IV – A Prototype Regulation

Regulating End of Life Choices: autonomy versus protection of the vulnerable

If there is a right to life, is there a right to not choose life? Many jurisdictions have regulations that enable patients to choose life-prolonging, life-shortening, or life-ending (for example do not resuscitate directives or removal of artificial feeding tubes) medical treatments in certain end of life situations. However, very few jurisdictions enable their citizens the choice to end their lives. Several countries are currently debating whether or not to enable their citizens to end their lives with the assistance of the state, and New Zealand is the most advanced in this process with its End of Life Choice Bill. This howtoregulate article examines the regulations of those jurisdictions that have developed end of life regulations on the basis of its complexity and the level of autonomy and protection afforded to those considering to end their life. Continue reading Regulating End of Life Choices: autonomy versus protection of the vulnerable

Feathers, Fur, Fins and Fronds: Regulations Against the Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora

Paradoxically, the strengthening international and national regulatory regime against illegal wildlife and forest trade[i] (shortened to illegal wildlife trade in this article) has also seen the increasing demand and market for such trade. Elephant numbers have been reducing since 2010 with between 20,000 and 30,000 African elephants killed each year[ii]. The Elephant Trade Information System reports that 45 tonnes of ivory was seized each year between 2010 and 2015[iii]. The price per kilogram of rhino horn is more than the street value of cocaine and gold (approximately €60,000 per kilogram)[iv]. Illegal wildlife trade is an asymmetric problem that has fueled conflict, corruption and money laundering. This howtoregulate article examines the regulatory techniques used by jurisdictions around the world to regulate against the illegal wildlife trade, focusing on those that present useful enforcement techniques. Continue reading Feathers, Fur, Fins and Fronds: Regulations Against the Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora