Category Archives: Security

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday iStock_000011057325XSmalland time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: a federal court decision holding that U.S.-based companies may be obligated to turn over customer data stored outside the United States; an amicus brief opposing President Trump’s Executive Order establishing an entry ban on individual from seven Muslim-majority countries; and new guidance from the OECD with regard to due diligence in apparel and footwear supply chains.… More

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

iStock_000011057325XSmallIt’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring.

This week’s post includes: Apple’s refusal to comply with a federal court order; a new report highlighting the most pressing business and human rights challenges facing companies today; and an evaluation of corporate compliance with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.

Alien Tort Case Development: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against Occidental Petroleum

Alien Tort GavelIn mid-December, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) against Occidental Petroleum. Plaintiffs in the case argued that Occidental should be held liable for the deaths of three union leaders in Colombia who were killed by the Colombian National Army’s 18th Brigade in 2004. The court affirmed the lower court’s finding that the case raised non-justiciable political questions.… More

What Might Liability under the ATS Look Like Post-Kiobel?: The Example of Private Contractors

SecurityFollowing the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum a number of questions remain as to whether corporations may be held liable under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) for serious violations of human rights.  The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Roberts, held that the presumption against extraterritorial application of federal statutes applies to the ATS,… More

Supreme Court Holds that Plaintiffs Must Overcome Presumption Against Extraterritoriality in Alien Tort Statute Cases

Supreme CourtEarlier today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the case that was to decide whether the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) could be applied to corporations as legal persons and whether such lawsuits could be based on actions that occurred outside of the territory of the United States. The Court did not directly address the question of corporate liability and stated that,… More

New Charter Outlines Concrete Steps to Implement the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Contractors

The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association recently published its Charter. This marks a critical step in the establishment of oversight and governance processes to operationalize the commitments outlined in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (“ICoC”).

The ICoC is a multistakeholder initiative the aim of which is to establish principles and standards for the private security industry based on international human rights and humanitarian law.… More

Participants in the Voluntary Principles Initiative Gather for 2013 Annual Plenary Meeting

On March 13-14, participants in the Voluntary Principles Initiative gathered in The Hague for the 2013 Annual Plenary Meeting. Foley Hoag’s Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) practice has served as the Secretariat for the Voluntary Principles Initiative since June 2010.

Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles Initiative is a tri-partite multistakeholder initiative that provides guidance to companies in extractive industries on maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.… More

Mobile Phone Security: Flawed Out of the Box?

phone with key on white background. Isolated 3D imageAccording to an article in the Wall Street Journal last week (subscription required), smartphone makers are receiving an increasing number of requests from U.S. law enforcement agencies for assistance in bypassing password protections on encrypted mobile devices seized from criminal suspects. Although it is heartening to hear the article’s report that companies such as Google are challenging warrants requiring them to divulge “any and all means of gaining access,… More

Afghanistan’s Ban on Private Security Companies: What are the Risks for Private Investors?

The month of March marked a key deadline in the compulsory — but gradual — transition from the use of private to public security forces in Afghanistan.  This transition was initiated in August 2010 when President Hamid Karzai issued Presidential Decree 62 in response to a number of criticisms regarding the presence, role and activities of private security companies ("PSCs") in Afghanistan. With a few exceptions,… More

Facebook Settles FTC Charges and Agrees to Independent Audits of Its Privacy Program

Earlier today, Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Facebook announced a settlement of the government’s charges that the company had deceived users regarding their ability to keep their information private. We have reposted below a blog post outlining the major elements of the settlement agreement. The post was authored by our colleague Colin Zick, co-founder of Foley Hoag’s Security & Privacy practice group,… More

A New Set of Principles for the Nuclear Power Industry

Corporate social responsibility and nuclear power? Indeed. In September, the very first code of conduct for the nuclear power plant industry was launched.

The development of the "Principles of Conduct" was facilitated by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Representatives of all of the major exporters of nuclear power plants participated in the drafting process, which was initiated in 2008. I had the honor of being selected by the Carnegie Endowment to help facilitate the negotiations.… More

D.C. Circuit Upholds Corporate Liability under the Alien Tort Statute

On July 8, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit brought against Exxon Mobil Corp. (“ExxonMobil”) by Acehnese villagers, alleging that the company and its Indonesian subsidiary are liable for killings, torture, and other human rights abuses committed by the Indonesian military. In a lengthy 2-1 decision, the D.C. Circuit held that companies are proper defendants under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”),… More

Voluntary Principles Participants Gather for Annual Plenary Meeting

Foley Hoag’s CSR practice serves as the Secretariat for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (the "Voluntary Principles”).  The Voluntary Principles, a tripartite multi-stakeholder initiative established in 2000, provide guidance to companies in extractive industries on maintaining the safety and security of their operations within a framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Voluntary Principles urge companies to

recognize a commitment to act in a manner consistent with the laws of the countries in which they are present,… More

Signature Ceremony Marks a Milestone for the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers

On November 9, at a signing ceremony hosted by the Swiss Government in Geneva, fifty-eight industry-leading private security companies (“PSCs”) signed an International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (.pdf).

The publication and signature of the Code represents a milestone achievement for a multi-stakeholder initiative, launched in June 2009 and sponsored by the Swiss Government, aimed at creating a set of universally recognized standards for private companies engaged in providing security services. … More

Bowoto v. Chevron: Appellate Court Upholds Jury Verdict

On September 10, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict in favor of Chevron Corporation (.pdf) in a case involving plaintiff allegations that Chevron was complicit in human rights abuses committed by Nigerian security forces in 1998.  Plaintiffs brought claims under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) and the Torture Victim Protection Act (“TVPA”).

The primary events at issue in the litigation took place at an offshore platform belonging to Chevron’s Nigerian subsidiary. … More