Regulating online safety and tackling online harms

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, he envisaged a decentralised environment of free exchange of ideas and information. Fast forward to 2019, almost 30 years later, and that online environment has been polluted by disinformation, manipulation, harassment and privacy breaches. The growth of online pollution has prompted various regulatory responses such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation1, Germany’s Network Enforcement Act2, Australia’s Abhorrent Violence Amendment Bill3 and California’s Consumer Privacy Act4, each one responding to an online safety problem. In a world first, however, the UK has signalled it will regulate online safety in a single and coherent way, including creating a statutory duty of care for online safety. This howtoregulate article will analyse the UK’s regulatory approach outlined in its April 2019 Online Harms White Paper, which is open for public consultation until July 2019, and propose ways to improve on regulatory enforcement of online safety. Continue reading Regulating online safety and tackling online harms

Three new approaches to enforcement of product legislation

Classic product legislation currently reaches its limits in several ways. One is 3D-printing which has been the topic of a separate article1. But the main issue is that the many control systems, be they pre-market or post-market oriented, tend to fail in front of an ever increasing number of economic operators and products and rather decreasing resources of state authorities. This article explores three novel approaches. These approaches can and should be used to complement the classic pre- and post-market verification. Some of them might even become alternatives thereto. Continue reading Three new approaches to enforcement of product legislation

Life after death: regulating posthumous reproduction

Regulating posthumous reproduction raises a myriad of bioethical, social, legal and administrative issues, all of which are important in any drafting of regulation on the topic. Very few jurisdictions researched in this howtoregulate article had complete legislation that regulated well the issues that arise from the retrieval of reproductive tissue postmortem and subsequent posthumous use of such tissue. In some jurisdictions researched, the applicable legislation was somewhat dated in comparison to the advances made in artificial reproductive technology (ART) treatment that push the boundaries of the legal parent. This howtoregulate article explores how jurisdictions have regulated posthumous reproduction, citing examples of regulation where they existed and proposing areas requiring clarity. Continue reading Life after death: regulating posthumous reproduction

How to regulate sensitive products when regulatory resources are limited

This howtoregulate article analyses how countries with limited regulatory resources could regulate sensitive products, using the example of medical devices. A key component of regulating such sensitive products is recognising certificates and evaluations from stringent jurisdictions, so that scarce government resources can be focussed on other regulatory activities such as customs control and enforcement. Continue reading How to regulate sensitive products when regulatory resources are limited

Infectious diseases: how to regulate an agile system equipped for the unknown

This howtoregulate article explores the regulation of infectious diseases, an issue of global importance noting that an outbreak from any infectious disease is just a plane ride away. Global climate change has contributed to increases in vector-borne diseasesand zoonotic diseases2, as animals move to populated areas in search of food. The World Health Organisation even has a placeholder for future unknown diseases (Disease X) on its list for determining which diseases and pathogensto prioritise for research. Evidently, effective public health regulations are critical for the effective surveillance, early detection and prevention of infectious diseases. Continue reading Infectious diseases: how to regulate an agile system equipped for the unknown

Regulating Cross Border Services

In today’s globalised world, where markets are increasingly borderless, how does the domestic regulator enforce national objectives in consumer protection, professional standards, taxes and competition? Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to enforce these objectives within the border, imagine across borders, where the language and legal systems are different and, most importantly, there is no own state power of the jurisdiction setting up requirements. Cross-border product enforcement has matured in recent years in line with consumer demand for quality and stricter enforcement through customs and sometimes even postal services. Requirements for cross-border services, however, have been more difficult to enforce due to the variety of channels that services consumers and businesses currently use, particularly digital services. This howtoregulate article focuses on how the regulation of cross-border services could be better enforced so that compliance with service requirements by traders outside of the jurisdiction are similar, or at least not too dissimilar, to those within the regulator’s jurisdiction. Continue reading Regulating Cross Border Services

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

Empowerments (Part I): typology

To ensure the good application of law, authorities must have empowerments. However, we have not yet found any systematic presentation of types of empowerments. We aim at closing this gap by this article. We will see that the focus on empowerment permits a new, complementary view on what regulation should contain. This complementary view can be used to double-check whether draft regulation is complete. Continue reading Empowerments (Part I): typology