The week in news - August 31
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a statement last week announcing a proposed amendment to its anti-money laundering rules. The changes would have a significant impact on banks, especially those without a federal regulatory body and would remove the current and existing exemptions. Reports also suggest that such change would create more stringent requirements regarding customer identification and KYC processes. Enacting these ‘minimum standards’, it is hoped, will fill the existent voids in anti-money laundering legislation. Deliberations and discussions on the proposed new rules will conclude by October 24th.
A proposed change to European copyright law would enable news publishers to levy fees on search engines which feature snippets of text on search results pages. The optional levy ensures that search engines such as Google obtain consent from news publishers before hosting extracts from any works, the report explains. Those against the changes proposed by the European Commission cite similar programs in Germany and Spain, which, they argue, have thus far proven unsuccessful. A decision on the copyright legislation amendments will be reached by the end of September.
Russia has announced plans to maintain a hard line stance on extremism and terrorism in the cyber realm, according to recent reports, and this is soon to include changes to the territory’s Internet security policies. Dubbed Russia’s version of the ‘Great Firewall’, service providers including Whatsapp will be required to store up to six months of customers’ data and information, and to produce it as and when requested; such information is said to include emails, messages, and images. The Russian Federal Security Service has been tasked with unlocking and analysing encrypted data, which will account for approximately half the information collated. Reports suggest the cost of implementing this new legislation could exceed $39 billion. More than 100,000 people have signed a petition against the move.
Mylan Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of extreme controversy in recent weeks. The producer of the lifesaving EpiPen (a dispenser of epinephrine, a drug treatment for severe allergies) has been accused of violating anti-trust policies and of severe price inflation as a result of taking advantage of their effective monopoly in the market. Prices of the EpiPen have risen more than 500% in the last nine years, TIME magazine reports, to $600 at the time of publication. Yesterday, the pharmaceutical company announced the launch of a generic EpiPen, offered at half the price of the branded, original version, though this has done little to quell the onslaught of criticism and negative publicity.
Apple is required to pay €13 billion in back taxes to the Irish government following a ruling by the European Commission. This follows investigations into tax breaks for several other American companies, including McDonalds, Amazon, and Starbucks throughout Europe, Reuters reports. The Commission described the agreements made with Apple over the last 10 years as unfair tax breaks, accusing the Irish government of unequal application of its tax regulations and a clear favoritism for large-scale multinational corporations, who would bring employment and capital to the territory. Both Apple and the Irish government have announced plans to appeal the verdict.