Europe pioneers regulatory push on artificial intelligence
European Union Lawmakers plan to give regulators new powers to govern the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, this is the biggest push so far to do so in the West. The initiative comes as 2023 saw a staggering rise in AI technologies like those implemented in ChatGPT. The lawmakers involved are working on a set of rules tailored to curtail powerful, general-purpose AI tools in what is now being called the AI Act, which has the goal of steering AI in a direction that is “human-centric, safe, and trustworthy”. The European Parliament is expected to agree on the draft next month, after which it will negotiate with members of the EU’s council which represents the member states.
US Supreme Court makes it easier for Justice Department to charge foreign state-owned firms
The US Supreme Court has ruled that Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank is not shielded from high-profile money-laundering charges by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. This came after federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Halkbank with allegedly evading US sanctions on Iran through a multibillion-dollar scheme. The Turkish bank argued that allowing US criminal proceedings against state-owned foreign companies would negatively affect US national security and foreign policy, however, Halkbank hasn’t completely lost the case as it might be protected under the principles of common law, an argument which will be assessed by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Chimène Keitner, a professor of international law at the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco said the following about the case “I think this is an extremely significant decision that puts to rest the argument that the FSIA confers immunity from criminal prosecution on any state-owned enterprise,”.
US lawmakers scrutinize loopholes in anti-forced labor laws targeting China
Several US lawmakers drew attention to potential gaps in existing laws that could allow goods to be imported into the United States from the largely proscribed Cinjian region. This followed a report by U.S. Customs and Border Protection which stated that nearly 1.1B USB in goods with possible links to the region had been stopped under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, under which goods from Xinjiang are presumed to be produced with forced labor and thus banned from the US. Businesses can however circumvent the law by moving goods through a third country and applying for certain exemptions. Representative James McGovern has stated that the initiative has bipartisan support and that both Republicans and Democrats are committed to ensuring the UFLPA is enforced effectively.
Seagate settles for 300M USD for violating Huawei export restrictions
Data storage provider Seagate has to pay a fine of 300M USD after continuing to sell hard drives to Chinese Huawei despite national security restrictions. Two subsidiaries of the firm agreed to paid the sum for violating export restrictions specifically placed on Huawei Technologies Co. over fears the firm poses a threat to US national security. Despite these measures, the Irish firm continued to sell hard drives to Huawei in 2020. The fine is the largest stand-alone administrative fine ever imposed by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.