Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Dec. 1, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., New SEC Report to Congress about Whistleblower Program: what is common between American and European conceptionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 1st of December 2020

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Summary of the news

Like every year since the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) and especially its Office of the Whistleblowers (OWB) handed to the Congress of the United-States a report about the success of its program concerning whistleblowers, especially estimated with the amount of financial rewards granted to them during the year. This report especially presents the amount granted to whistleblowers, the quality of the collected information and the efficacy of SEC's whistleblowers' protection process.

If Americans condition the effectiveness of whistleblowing to the remuneration of whistleblowers, Europeans oppose the "ethical whistleblower" who shares information for the love of Law to the "bounty hunter" uniquely motivated by financial reward and favor the former to the later, as it is proven in the French Law Sapin II of 2016 (which do not propose financial reward to whistleblowers) or the British Public Interest Disclosure of 1998 (which just propose a financial compensation of the whistleblower's losses linked to whistleblowing). 

However, American and European conceptions are not so far from each other. As United-States, Europe has a real care for legal effectivity, even if, because of their different legal traditions, Americans favor effectivity of rights while European favor effectivity of Law. If it places effectivity at the center of its preoccupations, Europe should conceive with less aversion the possibility to financially incite whistleblowers. Moreover, United-States and Europe share the same common willingness to protect whistleblowers and if rewarding would enable a better protection, then Europe should not reject it, as shows the recent declarations of the French Defenders of Rights. It is not excluded that both systems converges in a close future. 

Nov. 1, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Due process and Personal Data Compliance Law: same rules, one Goal (CJEU, Order, October 29, 2020, Facebook Ireland Ltd v/ E.C.)Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 1st of November 2020

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Read Marie-Anne Frison-Roche's interview in Actu-juridiques about this decision (in French)

 

Summary of the news: 

As part of a procedure initiated for anti-competitive behaviors, the European Commission has three times requested, between the 13th of March and the 11th of November 2019, from Facebook the communication of information, reitarated in a decision in May 2020.  

Facebook contests it alleging that the requested documents would contain sensitive personal information that a transmission to the Commission would make accessible to a too broad number of observers, while "the documents requested under the contested decision were identified on the basis of wideranging search terms, (...) there is strong likelihood that many of those documents will not be necessary for the purposes of the Commission’s investigation". 

The contestation therefore evokes the violation of the principles of necessity and proportionality but also of due process because these probatory elements are collected without any protection and used afterwards. Moreover, Facebook invokes what would be the violation of a right to the respect of personal data of its employees whose the emails are transferred. 

The court reminds that the office of the judge is here constraint by the condition of emergency to adopt a temporary measure, acceptable by the way only if there is an imminent and irreversible damage. It underlines that public authorities benefit of a presumption of legality when they act and can obtain and use personal data since this is necessary to their function of public interest. Many allegations of Facebook are rejected as being hypothetical. 

But the Court analyzes the integrality of the evoked principles with regards with the very concrete case. But, crossing these principles and rights in question, the Court estimates that the European Commission did not respect the principle of necessity and proportionality concerning employees' very sensitive data, these demands broadening the circle of information without necessity and in a disproportionate way, since the information is very sensitive (like employees' health, political opinions of third parties, etc.). 

It is therefore appropriate to distinguish among the mass of required documents, for which the same guarantee must be given in a technique of communication than in a technic of inspection, those which are transferable without additional precaution and those which must be subject to an "alternative procedure" because of their nature of very sensitive personal data. 

This "alternative procedure" will take the shape of an examination of documents considered by Facebook as very sensitive and that it will communicate on a separate electronic support, by European Commission's agents, that we cannot a priori suspect to hijack law. This examination will take place in a "virtual data room" with Facebook's attorneys. In case of disagreement between Facebook and the investigators, the dispute could be solved by the director of information, communication and medias of the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission. 

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We can draw three lessons from this ordinance: 

  1. This decision shows that Procedural Law and Compliance Law are not opposed. Some often say that Compliance guarantees the efficacy and that Procedure guarantees fundamental rights, the protection of the one must result in the diminution of the guarantee of the other. It is false. As this decision shows it, through the key notion of sensitive personal data protection (heart of Compliance Law) and the care for procedure (equivalence between communication and inspection procedures; contradictory organization of the examination of sensitive personal data), we see once again that two branches of Law express the same care, have the same objective: protecting people. 
  2. The judge is able to immediately find an operational solution, proposing "an alternative procedure" axed around the principle of contradictory and conciliating Commision's and Facebook's interests has shown that it was able to bring alternative solutions to the one it suspends the execution, appropriate solution to the situation and which equilibrate the interest of both parties. 
  3. The best Ex Ante is the one which anticipate the Ex Post by the pre-constitution of evidence. Thus the firm must be able to prove later the concern that it had for human rights, here of employees, to not being exposed to sanctioning pubic authorities. This Ex Ante probatory culture is required not only from firms but also from public authorities which also have to give justification of their action. 

 

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Oct. 27, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., From Competition Law to Compliance Law: example of French Competition Authority decision on central purchasing body in Mass DistributionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 27th of October 2020

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Summary of the news: Through its decision of 22nd of October 2020, the Autorité de la concurrence (French Competition Authority) accepted the commitments proposed by retail sector's firms Casino, Auchan, Metro and Schiever so that their agreement by which a common body centralizes purchases from numerous retailers, allowing each to offer these products under private label, is admissible with regard to competitive requirements. 

In this particular case, the Authority had self-sized in July 2018, estimating that such a purchase center could harm competition, opening immediately a large consultation on the terms of the contract. In October 2018, the law Egalim permitted to the Authority to take temporary measures to suspend such a contract, what the Authority did from September. 

The convention parties' firms committed on the one hand to update their contract limiting the power on suppliers, especially small and very small suppliers, excluding totally of the field of the contract some kind of products, especially food products and reducing the share of bought products volume dedicated to their transformation in distributor brand. 

The Autorité de la concurrence accepts this proposal of commitments, congratulates itself of the protection of small suppliers operating like that and observe the similarity with the contract consisting in a purchase center between Carrefour and Tesco, which will be examined soon. 

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We can draw three lessons of this innovating decision, which could be a model for after: 

1. The technique of Compliance Law permits to the Autorité de la concurrence to find a reasonable solution for the future. 

  • Indeed, rather than punishing much later by a simple fine or to annihilate the performing mechanism of the purchase center, the Authority obtains contract modifications. 
  • The contract is structured and the obtained modifications are also structural. 
  • The commitments are an Ex Ante technique, imposed to operators, for the future, in an equilibrium between competition, operators and consumers protection and the efficacy of the coordination between powerful operators. 
  • The nomination of a monitor permits to build the future of the sector, thanks to the Ex Ante nature of Compliance Law. 

2. The retail sector finally regulated by Compliance technics.

  • "Distribution law" always struggle to find its place, between Competition law and Contract Law, especially because we cannot consider it as a common "sector". 
  • The Conseil constitutionnel (French constitutional court) refused a structural injunction power to the authority because it was contrary to business freedom and without any doubt ethics of business is not sufficient to the equilibrium of the sector.
  • Through commitments given against a stop of pursuits relying on structuring contracts, it is by Compliance law that a Regulation law free of the condition of existence of a sector could leave.

3. The political nature of Compliance law in the retail sector

  • As for digital space, which is not a sector, Compliance law can directly impose to actors imperatives that are strangers to them. 
  • In the digital space, the care for fighting against Hate and for protecting private life; here the care for small and very small suppliers. 

 

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See in counterpoints the pursuit of a contentious procedure against Sony, whose the proposals of commitments, made after a public consultation, were not found satisfying.

To go further, on the question of Compliance law permitting through indirect way the rewriting by the Conseil of a structuring contract (linking a platform created by the State to centralize health data with an American firm subsidy to manage them).

Oct. 19, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Conditions for the legality of a platform managed by an American company hosting European health data​: French Conseil d'Etat decisionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 19th of October 2020

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News Summary: In its ordinance of 13th of October 2020, Conseil national du logiciel libre (called Health Data Hub), the Conseil d'Etat (French Administrative Supreme Court) has determined the legal rules governing the possibility to give the management of sensitive data on a platform to a non-europeans firm, through the specific case of the decree and of the contract by which the management of the platform centralizing health data to fight against Covid-19 has been given to the Irish subsidiary of an American firm, Microsoft. 

The Conseil d'Etat used firstly CJEU case law, especially the decision of 16th of July 2020, called Schrems 2, in the light of which it was interpreted and French Law and the contract linking GIP and

The Conseil d'Etat concluded that it was not possible to transfer this data to United-Sates, that the contract could be only interpreted like this and that decree and contract's modifications secured this. But it observed that the risk of obtention by American public authorities was remaining. 

Because public order requires the maintenance of this platform and that it does not exist for the moment other technical solution, the Conseil d'Etat maintained the principle of its management by Microsoft, until a European operator is found. During this, the control by the CNIL (French Data Regulator), whose the observations has been taken into consideration, will be operated. 

We can retain three lessons from this great decision:

  • There is a perfect continuum between Ex Ante and Ex Post, because by a referred, the Conseil d'Etat succeed in obtaining an update of the decree, a modification of the contractual clauses by Microsoft and of the words of the Minister in order to, as soon as possible, the platform is managed by an European operator. Thus, because it is Compliance Law, the relevant time of the judge is the future. 
  • The Conseil d'Etat put the protection of people at the heart of its reasoning, what is compliant to the definition of Compliance Law. It succeeded to solve the dilemma: either protecting people thanks to the person to fight against the virus, or protecting people by preventing the centralization of data and their captation by American public authorities. Through a "political" decision, that is an action for the future, the Conseil found a provisional solution to protect people against the disease and against the dispossession of their data, requiring that an European solution is found. 
  • The Conseil d'Etat emphasized the Court of Justice of The European Union as the alpha and omega of Compliance Law. By interpreting the contract between a GIP (Public interest Group) and an Irish subsidy of an American group only with regards to the case law of the Court of Justice of European Union, the Conseil d'Etat shows that sovereign Europe of Data can be built. And that courts are at the heart of this. 

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Read the interview given on this Ordinance Health Data Hub

 

To go further about the question of Compliance Law concerning health data protection, read the news of 25th of August 2020: The always in expansion "Right to be Forgotten"​: a legitimate Oxymore in Compliance Law built on Information. Example of​ Cancer Survivors Protection 

 

Oct. 9, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full Reference : Frison-Roche, M.-A.,Attorney's Professional Secret & Filter mechanism in balance with fighting Money Laundering: constitutional analysis in favor of Attorney's SecretNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, October 9, 2020.

 

Summary: By its judgment of September 24, 2020, the Constitutional Court of Belgium released an essential judgment which considers:
- Compliance Law which imposes obligations on entities to fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is legal requirements which must be analyzed on the basis of these goals
- the national transposition law is "broader" than the transposed European texts since it is anchored in the Constitution
- the provisions of the law imposing the declaration of suspicion on an employee of the Attorney or on a Compliance Officer concerning information covered by the professional secrecy of the Attorney, the basis of Democracy, must therefore be canceled.
This reasoning is remarkable and very solid.
It is not unique to Belgium.

 

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Sept. 29, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Judge between Platform and Regulator: current example of Uber case in U.K.Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 29th of September 2020

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Summary of the news:

On 22nd of September 2017, Transport of London (TFL), London Transport Regulator, refused to renew the licence, granted on 31st of May 2012 for 5 years, authorizing Uber to transport people because of criminal offenses committed by Uber's drivers. On 26th of June 2018, The Westminster Court prolonged Uber's licence for 15 months under the condition that the platform prevent the reproachable behaviors of its drivers. After these 15 months, the TFL refused once again to prolonge Uber's licence because of the persistence of aggressions against passengers. Uber, once again, contest this decision before the Westminster Court. 

In a decision of 28th of September 2020, the Court observes that during the 15 months, the platform implemented many measures to prevent aggressions, that the level of maturity of these measures has improved over time and that the number of offenses was reduced over the period (passing from 55 in 2018 to 4 in 2020). The Court estimated the the implementation of this actions is sufficient to grant a new licence to Uber. 

We can learn three lessons from this decision: 

  1. The Compliance obligation is not a result obligation but a mean obligation, which means that it is not reasonable to expect from a crucial operator (Uber, for instance) that it prevent every cases of agression but that it is salient to judge it on the effort it deploys to try to be closer to this ideal situation. Moreover, the crucial operator must be proactive, that is going away from the figure of passive subject of Law who apply measures enacted by the regulator in terms of fighting against aggressions to be an actor of the research of the best way to fight abusive behaviors, internalizing this "monumental goal. 
  2. The judge appreciates the violation committed by those whose the firm is responsible "in context", that is evaluates the concrete situation in a reasonable way. 
  3. It is the judge who decides in last resort and like the crucial operator, it must be reasonable. 

 

Read to go further:

Sept. 24, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., The Economic Impact of Law: a new report about it. And what about Regulation & Compliance? 3 lessonsNewsletter MAFR - Law, Regulation, Compliance, 24th of September 2020

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Summary of the news: 

On 18th of September 2020, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) published a report about the impact of Rule of Law on Economic Growth. 

The EESC defines the Rule of Law as the obligation to "all public powers act within the constraints laid down by law, in accordance with the values of democracy and fundamental rights, and under the control of independent and impartial courts". According to the Committee, the Rule of Law thus defined is favorable and even necessary to a durable economic growth especially because instability of regulations, absence of guarantee of labor and property rights, discrimination or non-application of contracts poorly favors or are detrimental for investments and economic agents' productive activities. The EESC observes by the way that countries which respect the Rule of Law grow more rapidly than those which do not respect it. The Committee also insists on the destructive effect of corruption which destroys public services, public action, public institutions on the long run and confidence, increasing inequalities. 

Although EESC approves the actions of European Commission to advance Rule of Law in the Union, it however invites the Commission to continue its efforts by giving a more important place to jurisdictions and by protecting better media freedom in a context of rising autocratic forces in Eastern Europe. 

We can learn three lessons from this report:

  1. The common interest of European Union States to guarantee the Rule of Law. Indeed, Rule of Law is not only written in article 2 of TFEU and has been consecrated by CJEU case law, it is also a condition of economic progress. 
  2. The fight against corruption must be the object of a redoubled effort. In this perspective, Compliance Law is able to offer appropriate innovating legal tools.
  3. To a definition of Regulation and Compliance Law as a simple process of application of mechanical legal rules, it is necessary to substitute a definition of Regulation and Compliance Law based on the notion of "monumental goals" and people protection. In this perspective, these branches of Law would prove to be powerful tools in the service of the advancement of the rule of law in the European space.

Sept. 22, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Interregulation: way of "cooperation protocol"​ between Regulatory Bodies. Example between French Financial Markets Authority and Anticorruption AgencyNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 22nd of September 2020

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Summary of the news: 

Although Regulation Law was born from the notion "sector", constant interferences between sectors and frequent interactions between some sectors and more general questions common to different sectors, make interregulation necessary. Compliance Law being the extension of Regulation Law, this interregulation mechanism is also necessary in Compliance Law. 

This interregulation can take many legal paths like letters exchanges between regulators, the creation of a network of regulators and supervisors at the world level or about some specific question or the adoption of a "cooperation protocol" as the AMF (French Financial Market Regulator) and the AFA (French Anticorruption Agency) did on 16th of September 2020 to reinforce their respective fight against corruption, against market abuses and for the protection of investors. 

This cooperation protocol between the AFA and the AMF has the following subjects:

  • A more efficient methodology concerning the research and the analysis of corruption and market abuses.
  • A more efficient prevention of corruption and market abuses.
  • A better capacity to give recommendations of new regulations to the Legislator.
  • A more rigorous monitoring of international works on the topic. 
  • A more coherent information for the public.

Are regulators the new teachers? 

Sept. 21, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Regulation, Compliance & Cinema: learning about Internet Regulation with the series "Criminals"​Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 21st of September 2020

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Summary of the news: 

Season 2 Episode 3 of the British version of the series "Criminals" features the character of Danielle. Danielle is a mother which has decided to hunt down pedophiles on social networks in order to trap them and show to the world their acts. Danielle insists on the efficiency of her action with regard to the police and justice that she finds unproductive. In the episode, Danielle is accused of defamation by the police. While policemen try to explain to Danielle the importance of using a regular procedure and to respect the Rule of Law aiming to prove its accusations, she makes efficiency her only principle. According to her, her methods get results (on the contrary of those used by the police which respect procedures) and those she accuses to be pedophiles do not deserve defense rights. 

We can learn three lessons from Danielle's story: 

  1. If Compliance Law is just a process of application of mechanical rules, then Rule of Law is not salient face to the principle of efficiency. But, if Compliance Law is defined by its "monumental goals" and that the respect of Rule of Law is erected in "monumental goal", then efficiency and Rule of Law become compatible and congruent. 
  2. The digital space must be disciplined by crucial digital firms supervised by public authorities, like in France or Germany for hate speeches and disinformation. 
  3. Compliance Law, and Law in general, must be pedagogue towards individuals as Danielle which do not understand why their behaviors are reproachable. 

Sept. 10, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Responding to an email with "serious anomalies"​,transferring personal data, blocks reimbursement by the bank: French Cour de cassation, July 1st 2020Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 10th of September 2020

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Summary of the news

"Phishing" is a kind of cyber criminality aiming to obtain, by sending fraudulent emails which look like to those sent by legitimate organisms, recipient's personal information in order to impersonate or steal him or her. As it is difficult to find the authors of "phishing" and to prove their intentionality in order to punish them directly, on mean to fight against "phishing" could be to entitle banks to secure their information network and, to accompany this obligation with a strong incentive, to convict them to reimburse the victims in case of robbery of their personal data.  

In 2015, a client victime of this kind of fraud asked to his bank, the Crédit Mutuel, to reimburse him the amount stole, what the bank refused to do on the grounds that the client committed a fault, transferring its confidential information without checking the email, however grossly counterfeit. The Court of first instance gave reason to the client because although he committed this fault, he was in good faith. This judgment was broken by the Chambre commerciale de la Cour de cassation (French Judicial Supreme Court) by a decision of 1st of July 2020 which states that this serious negligence, exclusive of any consideration of good faith, justifies the absence of reimbursement by the bank.

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From this particular case, we can draw three lessons

  1. The Cour de Cassation states that good faith is not a salient criterion and that, as the bank must react when a banking account is objectively abnormal, the client must react face to an obviously abnormal email. 
  2. The Cour de Cassation describes the repartition of proof burden. Proof obligations are alternatively distributed between the bank and its client. First, the bank must secure its information network but, secondly, the client must take every reasonable measure to preserve its safety. It results from this that, if the email seems normal, phishing damages must be supported by the bank, and more generally of by the firm, while if the email is obviously abnormal, they must be supported by the client, but the burden to prove the abnormality of the email must be supported by the firm and not by the client. 
  3. Such a proof system shows that Compliance Law includes a pedagogic mission by educating each client in order to he or she would be able to distinguish among his or her emails, those which are normal and those which are obviously suspect. This pedagogic dimension, with the legal consequences associated to it, will not stop to spread. 

 

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Sept. 9, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Freedom&Media: when Italian Media Regulation's real "goal"​ is not Pluralism Protection, Freedom of Establishment prevails (CJEU, 3 Sept.2020,Vivendi)Newsletter MAFR - Law, Regulation, Compliance, 9th of September 2020

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Summary of the news

The media sector is organized on an equilibrium between the principle of competition and other concerns like information pluralism. Generally, competition Law by making market accessible to many competitors ensures information pluralism. But, this is not the case if an operator get an excessive market power, running risk not only for competition but also for information pluralism. It is the reason why the Italian legal system forbids the constitution of an operator gathering more than 40% of the total income generated by the media sector or more than 10% of the total income generated by the Italian communication sector. 

In 2016, Vivendi, a French media group, got more than 28% of the Mediaset Group's actions and around 30% of its voting right. The Italian communication regulation authority sized by Mediaset demands in 2017 to Vivendi to ends its participations in the group Mediaset. Vivendi contested this decision before the regional administrative court which referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union in order to know if freedom of establishment can legitimately be discarded in favor of information pluralism in this concrete case. The Court of Justice answered, in a decision of 3rd of September 2020, that the restriction of the freedom of establishment can in principle be justified by a general interest objective such as information pluralism protection but that in this concrete case, this is not justified because the fact that a firm is committed in the transmission of contents does not necessarily give it the power to control the production of such contents.

We can learn three lessons form this case:

  1. The Court precises that even if the principle is the freedom of establishment, it is possible to discard it to protect information pluralism protection under the condition that the concerned member State do not use this legitimate power to create a political monopoly, the burden of proof falling on the person attacking national legislation and not on the Member State.
  2. The Court distinguishes transmission of contents and production of contents and explains that if the State rejects this decision, the burden falling to it to prove the concrete links between these two activities.
  3. This case shows that the power to share the respective places of the "principle" and of the "exception" always comes back to the judges. 

Sept. 7, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Conflict of interests & "revolving doors"​: what the European Ombudsman said in May 2020, the European Banking Authority agreed in August.Three lessonsNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 7th of September 2020

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Summary of the news: 

Supervision and regulation authorities' impartiality and independence are conditioned to the fact that their members do not have any conflict of interest with the sector that they supervise or regulate. Such an absence of conflict of interest is necessary to guarantee a climate of trust between the authority and operators. This supposes that regulation and supervision authority members do not cumulate functions of operator and of regulator/supervision during but also after their mandate in the regulation/supervision authority because the anticipation of a future hiring can influence present decisions. 

On 2nd of August 2019, the executive director of the European Banking Authority (EBA) informed the authority of its willingness to become PDG of the Association des marchés financiers en Europe, lobby of the financial sector. EBA approved this perspective. However, "Change Finance", a civil coalition, sized the European Mediator explaining that such a professional reorientation created an inevitable conflict of interest. The European Mediator reacted on 7th of May 2020 through a recommendation saying that although EBA took preventive measures, theses measures are not sufficient with regard to the risks. In this recommendation, the European Mediator also made some general propositions to manage future conflicts of interest:

  • The interdiction for senior managers to have positions able to create a conflict of interest for two years.
  • The information of senior managers and candidates to senior managers positions of the actual rules.
  • The implementation of internal procedures blocking access to confidential information to the member who notified its willingness to occupy later a position able to constitute a conflict of interest with its current position. 

In a letter of 28th of August 2020, the president of EBA told to the European Mediator that he accepts these remarks and propositions. 

In this particular case, we can draw three lessons:

  1. The difficult articulation between independence/impartiality (necessary for trust) and regulator/supervisor expertise. The European Mediator and the ABE are agree that the interdiction to get some positions must be limited in time.
  2. The necessity that everyone can anticipate rules correctly.
  3. The necessity to preserve legal security. 

Sept. 2, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., For regulating or supervising, technical competence is required: example of the French creation of the "Pôle d'expertise de la régulation numérique"​Newsletter MAFR - Law, Regulation, Compliance, 2nd of September 2020

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Summary of the news

Through a decree of 31st of August 2020, the government created a national service, the "Pôle d'expertise de la régulation numérique" (digital regulation expertise pole). It has to furnish to State services a technical expertise in computer science, data science and algorithm processes in order to assist them in their role of control, investigation and study. The aim is to favor information sharing between researchers and State services in charge of regulating digital space. 

As its acronym indicates, this pole of expertise aims to represents constance in a changing world. Moreover, more than being a national service, this organism must adopt a transversal dimension, its creation decree being signed by the Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Minister of Culture and Minister of Digital Transition. The creation of such a pole shows the awareness of the government of the importance of technical competency in the regulation of digital space and of the necessity to centralize these expertises in one organ. 

However, as the decree indicates, this pole of expertise could be consulted only by "State services", that excludes regulators which are independent from the State and which could put the pole in conflict of interest, and courts even if they are supposed to play a central role in the regulation of digital space and even if they are allowed to ask the advice of the regulator about some cases. But if regulators cannot size the pole, to whom does it benefit except the legislator and a few officials? 

It would therefore have been better for this pole of expertise to be placed under the direction of regulatory and supervisory bodies, which would have enabled it to be able to be consulted both by regulators and by judges, both of whom are key players in digital regulation.

Sept. 2, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Compliance & Regulatory Soft Law, legal Certainty and Cooperation: example of the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network new Guidelines on AML/FTNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 2nd of September 2020

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Summary of the news

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is an organ, depending on the American Treasury, in charge of fighting against financial criminality and especially against money laundering and terrorism financing. For this, it has large control and sanction powers. 

In August 2020, the FinCEN published a document untitled "Statement on Enforcement" which aimed to explicit its control and sanction methods. It reveals what firms risk in case of offense (from the simple warning letter to criminal pursuits passing through financial fines) and the different criteria on which FinCEN is based to use one sanction rather than another. Among these criteria, we find for examples the nature and the seriousness of committed violations or the firm's history but also the implementation of compliance program or the quality and the spread of the cooperation with FinCEN durning the investigation. 

One of the objectives of the publication of such an information document is to obtain the cooperation of firms by creating a confidence relationship between the regulator and the regulated firm. However, it is very difficult to ask to the firms to cooperate and to furnish information if they can fear that this same information can be used later as proof against them by the FinCEN. 

Another objective is to reinforce legal security and transparency. However, the FinCEN's declaration does not seem to commit it, because it is not presented as a chart but as a simple declaration. Indeed, the list of the possible sanctions and the criteria used by the FinCEN are far from being exhaustive and can be completed in concreto by the FinCEN without any justification.

Aug. 31, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Compliance by Design, a new weapon? Opinion of Facebook about Apple new technical dispositions on Personal Data protectionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 31st of August 2020

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Summary of the news:

Personal Data, as they are information, are Compliance Tools. They represent a precious resource for firms which must implement a vigilance plan in order to prevent corruption, money laundering or terrorism financing, for examples. It is the reason why personal data are the angular stone of "Compliance by design" systems. However, the use of these data cannot clear the firm of its simultaneous obligation to protect these same personal data, that is also a "monumental goal" of Compliance Law. 

In order to be able to exploit these data in an objective of Compliance and protecting them in the same time, the digital firm Apple adopted for example new dispositions in order to the exploitation of the Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) integrated in the iPad and in the iPhone and broadly used by targeted advertising firms, is conditioned to the consumer's consent.

Facebook reacted to this new disposition explaining that such measures will restrict the access to data for advertisers who will suffer from that. Facebook suspects Apple to block the access to advertisers in order to develop its own advertising tool. Facebook guaranteed to advertisers who work with it that it will not take similar measures and that it will always favor consultation before decision making in order to concile sometimes divergent interests. 

We can sleep and already make some remarks:

  • GDPR imposing to companies that they guarantee a minimal level of protection for personal data does not apply in the United-States. It is then possible that Apple acted through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), more than through legal obligation. 
  • The mode of regulation used here is the "conversational regulation" theorized by Julia Black. Indeed, regulators let the forces in presence discuss. 
  • This "conversational regulation" does not seem to be very efficient in this case and an intervention of administrative authorities or of judges could be justified via Competition Law, Regulation Law or Compliance Law, knowing that Competition Law will favor access right to information and Regulation or Compliance Law private life right. 

The whole paradox of Compliance Law rests in the equilibrium between circulation of information and secret. 

Aug. 27, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., "Interregulation"​ between Payments System and Personal Data Protection: how to organize this "interplay"​?Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 27th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

Regulation Law, in order to recognize and draw the consequences from the specificities of some objects, has been build, at the start, around the notion of "technical sector" although their delimitation is partially related to a political choice. But, in facts, there are multiple points of contacts between sectors, actors moving from one to another as objects. The regulatory solution is so to climb over some technical borders through the methodology of interregulation which is by the way the only one to enable the regulation of some phenomena going beyond the notion of sector and related to Compliance Law. 

This news takes the exemple of companies furnishing new payment services. In order to they can provide these services, these firms needs to access to banking accounts of concerned people and so to very sensitive personal data. Regulation of such a configuration needs a cooperation between the banking regulator and the personal data regulator. Legislation being not sufficient to organize in Ex Ante this interregulation, the European Data Protection Board has published some guidelines on 17th of July 2020 about the way it conceives the articulation between the PSD2 (European directive about payment services) and GDPR and has announced that it intended to expand the circle of its interlocutors to do this interregulation. Such an initiative from EDPB can be justified by the uncertainty  about how interpreting both texts and articulating them.   

Aug. 26, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Difficulty of Compliance in Self-Regulation system: example of the Summer 2020 meetings of OPEC about the "conformity"​ for Oil Market Stability​Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 26th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

The world production of oil is largely coordinated by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and especially by its Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC). On 15th of July 2020, this Committee decides to reduce the world production of oil in order to maintain a certain price stability in a context of restricted demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, such a stability can be maintained only if each member respects this decision and effectively reduce its production level. This meeting of 15th of July also aimed to get member's conformity. In order to get this conformity, the JMMC declared that it will use "name and shame", shaming countries which do not respect the Committee's declaration and naming those which respect it. A second meeting, on 19th of August 2020, reminded to non-compliant countries their obligation and urged them to comply before the 28th of August. 

We can observe two things: 

  • The term used by the Committee is "conformity" and not "compliance", which implies less adherence to "monumental goals than the mechanical respect of formal rules.
  • In an self-regulation system where there is not supposed to be a need for "conformity", the need for it is a clue that this self-regulation is malfunctioning.

Aug. 25, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., The always in expansion "Right to be Forgotten"​: a legitimate Oxymore in Compliance Law built on Information. Example of​ Cancer Survivors ProtectionNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 25th of August 2020 

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Summary of the news

The "right to be forgotten" is an invention of the Court of Justice of the European Union during the case Google Spain in 2014. It implies that digital firms block the access to personal data of someone who asks it. This "right to be forgotten", which permits to impose secret to third parties has largely been generalized by GDPR in 2016. This new fundamental subjective right is a very political and European right. United-States which, on the contrary of Europe, did not experience nazism, links the "right to be forgotten" to the protection of consumer, conception which especially leads California Consumer Privacy Act adopted in 2018 to link this right to a situation of absence of necessity of this data for the firm which obtained it. 

In Europe, this willingness to protect directly the person increases the scope of such a subjective right. Thus, in France and in Luxembourg, since 2020, a cancer survivor can thus ask that such an information is not accessible among his or her health data, especially for insurance companies which use them in their risk calculus to set premium amount. Netherlands will do the same in 2021 to fight against discrimination between banks' and insurances' clients. 

The "monumental goal" is therefore not so much here the protection of individual freedoms as the protection of the vulnerable person, which is bye the way the keystone of a Compliance Law, concealing sometimes prohibition to circulate information (as here) and sometimes obligation to circulate information (in other cases, where the alert must be given) depending on whether vulnerable people are protected either by one or by the other.

Aug. 24, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., The control by regulator of the essential infrastructure manager's investment plan: example of electric network and the notion of "doctrine"Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 24th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

On 31st of July 2020, the Commission de Régulation de l'Energie (CRE and French energy regulator) has examined the investment plan of the French electric network manager (RTE) as it does every year. This investment plan is an economic document but it also contains societal purposes, especially the adaptation of the electric network in order to integrate renewable energies. 

The control by the CRE is not a financial control. The crucial operator (RTE) is free to decide the way it wants to manage its budget. The CRE just advices on the financial side by recommending for exemple to be more flexible in its financial strategies. The true CRE's control is about the investment plan's general orientations, the methodology of needs analysis and crucial operator's investment choices which must be aligned with those of the regulator.

Such a control leads to the emergence of an "investment doctrine" from the side of the crucial operator, mixing its own choices and the regulator's guidelines. Beyond this, the elaboration of the investment plan is the result of a true co-writing between the regulator and the firm which discuss together, exchanges points of view and methods. Such a method, expressing a kind of coregulation, could be used in other sectors. 

Aug. 21, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Being obliged by Law to unlock telephone is not equivalent to self-incrimination: Cour de cassation, Criminal Chamber, Dec. 19, 2019Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 21st of August 2020

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Summary of the news

The Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Judicial Court) made a decision on 19th of December 2019 about a case concerning a refusal to communicate his mobile phone's unlock code to the police while the police found him with a significant quantity of narcotic and a lot of cash and that there was a certain probability that this mobile phone get proofs of culpability of its owner. The individual was indicted not for narcotic trafficking but for not having communicate its unlock code which constitute an offense to article 434-15-2 of code pénal, from the loi du 3 juin 2018 renforçant la lutte contre la criminalité organisée, et le terrorisme et leur financement (law reinforcing organized crime, terrorisme and their financing).

The accused invokes before the court its right to not incriminate oneself. Indeed, the configuration face to policemen was such that if he refused to communicate its unlock code, he will be punished because of this obligation to communicate his code and that if he accepted, he will also be sanctioned because of the proofs contained into the mobile phone. Such a configuration therefore offered him no alternative to confessing, which is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and to European and national jurisprudence.

Face to such a case, the Cour de Cassation chose to segment the information and proposed the following solution: if the researched information cannot be obtained regardless of the suspect willingness, it is not possible to constraint this person to communicate this information without violating its procedural rights, but if the information can be obtained regardless of the suspect willingness then the individual is obliged to communicate his code. In the current case, as it was possible for policemen to obtain information contained in the phone by technical means, longer but existent, then the refuse of communication of the unlock code by the suspect constitute an obstruction that should be sanctioned. 

Such a decision is an exemple of the conciliation by the judge of two fundamental but contradictory "monumental goals" of Compliance Law: transparency of information towards public authorities and very sensible personal data protection. 

To go further, read Marie-Anne Frison-Roche's working paper: Rethinking the world from the notion of data

 

 

Aug. 20, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., When Compliance Law is violated, does the "right to be (re)compensated"​ exist, and must it be encouraged or not? - The Marriott caseNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 20th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

In August 2020, Marriott International, online hotel room booking platform, has be sued before an English court by a consulting firm through a "class action" technic. The firm ask to Marriott International compensates the clients whose personal data jas been hacked while Marriott International which was in charge of this data, did not implement all it could to protect these data. According to the plaintiff firm, making the online platform responsible in Ex Ante of the clients' data security and constraint it to compensate injured clients in case of failure is a more important incentive for the firm to do its best to protect this data than a simple fine.    

Many similar actions are ongoing, especially during English Courts where the practice of "class action" is more developed. The question is therefore to know whether it is interesting to encourage the development of this kind of process in France. Concretly, a substantial subjective right (here the right to have its data protected) exists only if it is accompanied by a procedural right to size the judge in order to he or she activates it. The right to ask for a compensation in case of violation of these Compliance obligations but also is therefore not only a strong incentive for firms but also a condition of effectivity of these same obligations, knowing that the effectivity is the major care of Compliance Law.  

Aug. 19, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Regulators'​ Impartiality and contents control: "Les infidèles"​ caseNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 19th of August 2020

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To go further, read the chapter of the book Compliance Tools: "The geographical pregnancy ​of Compliance tools" opened by an introductive chapter written by Jean-Baptiste Racine

 

Summary of the news

Impartiality of the regulator is one of the most important principles of Regulation and Compliance Law. However, this impartiality can be difficult to implement when the regulation object has a strong moral dimension. 

In August 2020, various religious associations sized the Conseil National de Régulation de l'Audiovisuel sénégalais (Senegalese audiovisual regulatory authority) to ask the interdiction of broadcasting on television of the film "Les infidèles" telling the story of a married woman with multiple lovers. 

First, the regulator distinguishes the sequences likely to be detrimental to cultural and religious identities and shocking sequences or likely to attack the dignity of the person. Then, it asks the deletion of indecent and obscene scenes and of scenes likely to be detrimental to cultural and religious identities, bans the broadcasting of the film in the television before 10.30 pm, asks an update of the trailer and requires the introduction of a pictogram "forbidden to children under 16" during the broadcasting. The CNRA judges itself able to regulate the content of telefilms in order to protect cultural identities with regards to the law of 4th of January setting its mission. 

In 2012, a similar controversy surrounded, in France, the broadcasting of a different film with the same name. However, the purpose and the context were very different because the film was broadcasted at cinema, because it presented adultery men, because it was comic, because the competent regulator was not an administrative body but a professional body and because the broadcasting country was not the same. Here, only the poster was modified. 

Thus, an impartial regulation must however taking into consideration "local cultural identities".  

Aug. 18, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Can Coordination between local Regulators replace a unique centralized Regulator? Example of the European organisation of the Open Internet PrincipleNewsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 18th of August 2020

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To go further, read Marie-Anne Frison-Roche's article: The hypothesis of interregulation 

 

Summary of the news

The principle of "open internet" enshrined in the European regulation of 30th of April 2016 guaranteeing a non discriminatory access to Internet contents and services. However, there is no European regulator to implement such a principle. Is it possible to guarantee the effectivity of this principle without a central regulator in charge of this principle? 

On 11st of June 2020, the BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) adopted guidelines concerning the application of the open internet principle. The BEREC is not a European regulator but a network of national regulators aiming to coordinate their actions. This body is only a consultative body but its recommendations are taken into account by national authorities which have deep legal power, as Osborne-Clarke said about the technical implementation of the European principle of open internet at the national level.  

It is thus non necessary to have a central regulator to ensure the effectivity of a principle since the moment when there is a local regulators network able to coordinate their actions through soft law.   

Aug. 17, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Risk Mapping: is it legally different when it is made by Regulatory Bodies or by Regulated Enterprises?, in  Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 17th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

Each year, the Autorité des marchés financiers (French financial markets regulator), the European Central Bank and the Agence française anti-corruption (French anti-corruption agency) publish risk maps. At first glance, risk maps established by the regulator aim to both help regulator and the regulated company to face risks by anticipating them. These documents would only be an assistance brought to firms in their Compliance mission and not an injunction from the regulator to take into account the risks that it emphasizes.  

However, Law forces firms to do their own risk maps under penalty of sanctions. Since the regulator has previously published its own risk map, can companies, obliged to write theirs, deviate from it? If the firm follows the map published by the regulator, can it protect itself against this if it is accused of not having fulfilled its compliance obligations? On the contrary, if the operator does not follow regulator's risk map, can this be blamed on it? Formally, regulator's risk maps do not come with an injunction to take it into account but, as everyone knows, any recommendation from a regulator or supervisor must be taken into account.

The legal solution could here be the implementation of a system of "comply or explain" which would mean that if the firm decides to no follow the risk map established by the regulator, it must be able to justify its choice. 

 

To go further, read:

Aug. 14, 2020

Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation

Full reference: Frison-Roche, M.-A., Is Regulating Hate and Infox a legal obligation imposed to the Digital Enterprises or the expression of their free will to contribute to Democracy?Newsletter MAFR - Law, Compliance, Regulation, 14th of August 2020

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Summary of the news

Internet permits to access to expanded knowledge but also make easier the broadcasting of fake news and hate speeches. Unfortunately, public powers cannot know who broadcast these fake news and hate speeches and are so not able to fight efficiently against this. A solution would be to expect from digital firms that they find a way to contain these fake news and hate speeches that they structurally contribute to diffuse. 

Digital firms already do that and especially Facebook which plans to sensibilize its American users to 2020 presidential elections. However, digital firms explain that if they fight against fake news and hate speeches, it is only because of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But, even if it is a calculus to get a better reputation and avoid boycott actions, this remains a willingness of the firm which is therefore neither forced to succeed, nor even to act. 

The solution proposed by Compliance Law is to make of this effort a legal obligation by internalizing in crucial operators (digital firms) the "monumental goal" to fight against fake news and hate speeches so that digital companies are required to act and that they are supervised by public authorities in this task. The forthcoming law about digital services will impose to digital firms Ex Ante obligations while the law of 22 of December 2018 related to the fight against information manipulation already forces platforms operators a legal obligation to "cooperate" in the fight against fake news. 

 

To go further, read :