Monthly Archives: February 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Review of Corporate Liability Under the Alien Tort Statute — An Overview of the Oral Arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

On February 28, in proceedings that were both closely watched and anxiously anticipated, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. For the first time, the question of whether corporations are proper defendants in Alien Tort Statute ("ATS") cases is squarely before the Court.  Petitioners had sought Supreme Court review of a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finding that corporations are not proper defendants under the ATS.… More

Predictive Analytics, Informed Consent, and Privacy: The Case of Target

A fascinating article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine discusses the powerful statistical techniques that some companies are using to analyze sales and other data in order to gain insights into their customers’ behaviors and needs. The article raises a number of difficult consent and privacy issues.

The feature-length piece by Charles Duhigg uses the “predictive analytics” program developed by Target, America’s third-biggest retailer, as a case study to illustrate how companies are combining data from customer interactions with other information obtained from commercial databases to draw strikingly detailed portraits of individual customers.… More

Liability and Immunity for Human Rights Violations: The Impact of Current Legal Developments on Corporate Responsibility

It is likely that the coming year will see a number of legal developments relating to the immunity and liability of corporations, states, and individuals as recognized by U.S. courts.  With an increasing number of suits filed against companies for human rights abuses, the question of whether immunity attaches is of great significance.

Courts inside and outside the United States are weighing questions regarding jurisdiction and immunity,… More

Responding to Government Demands for Content Restrictions: The Need to Focus on Responsible Implementation Strategies

The announcement by Twitter last month that it is deploying the ability to block tweets on a country-by-country basis in response to government demand for content restrictions has generated an enormous amount of controversy.

Some commentators have accused the company, whose CEO once memorably described it as belonging to the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party,” of giving in to the demands of governments who take a narrow view of the freedom of expression in order to grow their business in lucrative new markets.… More

The 2012 IFC Performance Standard on Indigenous Peoples: What’s the Fuss?

The new IFC Environmental and Social Performance Standards — in particular, Performance Standard 7 on indigenous peoples — present a range of management and operational challenges for certain companies. For the first time, the Performance Standard includes a requirement of free, prior, and informed consent (“FPIC”) from indigenous peoples.

The new Performance Standards went into effect in January 2012 and are applicable to a greater number of the IFC’s investments than the 2006 Performance Standards,… More