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The PT Law Blog

Learning from the Target Data Breach

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Privacy, Data Protection and Security
Sunday, 30 March 2014 16:09

By Arthur Freyre

At the height of last year’s Christmas shopping season, Target reported that some 40 million credit and debit cards were exposed to a possible data breach. The resulting breach led to fraudulent transactions and unprecedented customer data exposure. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee launched an investigation aimed at understanding the breach and they released the results of this inquiry last week.

The Senate's findings can be summarized in two points: (1) Target allowed a vendor access to its network without proper due diligence and (2) Target failed to act on their own data security systems’ alerts. Target’s systems were compromised as a result of a vendor’s access to their network. Simply put, the small business did not have the proper security program to protect itself from hacking and was ultimately exploited in efforts to breach Target.

Read more... [Learning from the Target Data Breach]
 

Compliance and Economic Sanctions in the Virtual Arena, Workable and Never Ending

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Trade Security
Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:13

By Jason I. Poblete

The majority of U.S. economic sanctions laws and regulations designed for the brick and mortar world, continue to present compliance challenges for businesses offering goods and services on the web. The Internet makes it easier to get around and avoid sanctions, and export controls, but compliance remains necessary.

The brick and mortar rules, at a certain level, are almost impossible to enforce in the virtual world. Foreigners can use a variety of tools such to mask identity and place. Take this to the bank, the bad actors always find a way to break the law. This presents many challenges for companies with just about any sort of U.S. nexus.

Read more... [Compliance and Economic Sanctions in the Virtual Arena, Workable and Never Ending]
 

Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere in Miami

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Public Policy
Saturday, 21 December 2013 11:10

By Arthur Freyre

(Coral Gables, Florida) Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Ms. Roberta Jacobson, spoke before a group at the University of Miami Center of Hemispheric Affairs last week. Jacobson and several of her colleagues were in South Florida, in part, for a business conference.  Jacobson's speech focused on the Administration’s effort in Latin America. Jacobson focused most of her remarks on the issues of education exchanges between students in the United States and in Latin America, narcotics interdiction, and trade.

Cuba: A Lot of Issues Discussed, Much to Be Done

After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions. The first question dealt with Cuba and the now seemingly infamous handshake between President Obama and Raul Castro. Ms. Jacobson stated that “a handshake was just a handshake.” Her bigger concern was the interaction between the President and Brazil's president. 

Read more... [Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere in Miami]
 

WSJ: US Sues Over Magnitsky Scandal-Linked Assets

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Trade Security
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:40

Today's Wall Street Journal reports that "[p]rosecutors filed a civil complaint seeking the assets of 11 companies linked to a $230 million Russian tax-refund fraud uncovered by deceased Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky." Read the entire story here.

Read more... [WSJ: US Sues Over Magnitsky Scandal-Linked Assets]
 

On the books for some time: National Emergency With Respect to Syria

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Trade Security
Monday, 09 September 2013 10:33

Jason I. Poblete

syria pol 2007Whenever the United States announces that it may engage in foreign military activities, a discussion invariably ensues in this town regarding the use of economic sanctions. Opponents of military action tend to urge more aggressive use of them, while sanctions detractors will argue that they do not work. The current national debate as to whether or not to use military force in Syria to punish the Syrian government for the alleged use of chemical weapons is a good example of this back and forth. 

Economic sanctions are tools, not a policy. They can be part of a clearly articulated foreign policy, without it, they are not very effective. It should also go without saying, in order to yield results sanctions need to be robustly enforced, usually over a prolonged period of time. Once the target nation or person has committed an offending action, if allowed to continue to do so, economic sanctions tend to do little to deter the offending acitivities in the future.

Read more... [On the books for some time: National Emergency With Respect to Syria]
 

Dr. Gomez: Preparing to do Business in a Future Cuba

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Public Policy
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 12:08

Dr. Andy Gomez, Senior Policy Advisor

The government of Raul Castro continues to introduce what appear to be economic reforms in Cuba with the purpose of jump-starting a moribund economic system that for more than a decade has been controlled by the government and dependent on subsides by countries such as Russia and Venezuela. However, at the same time, the Cuban leadership has shown clear signs that they have no intention of relinquishing political control or honoring fundamental freedoms. 

This is a time of great economic and political uncertainty in Cuba. For the first time in decades there are clear factions starting to form within the Cuban government.  There are the hardliners, who would like to see no change at all. Then  there is a class of bureaucrats who do not agree with the pace of the current reforms. This group would like to see a great deal more economic liberalization. These individuals, some in very senior posts in the current government, propose reform within the existing government structure. It is difficult to tell at this point if this latter group is as ideologically committed to the Revolution as the others.

Read more... [Dr. Gomez: Preparing to do Business in a Future Cuba]
 

UAE Company Fined for Violating U.S.-Syria Sanctions, Export Control Laws

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Trade Security
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:53

Jason I. Poblete

Computerlinks, a UAE-based company that sells information technology product and services, has been fined $2.8 million for violating U.S.-Syria export control laws. According to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Computerlinks committed three violations of the Export Administration Regulations (the Regulations) by engaging in transactions or taking:

Read more... [UAE Company Fined for Violating U.S.-Syria Sanctions, Export Control Laws]
 

US State Department: Terrorist Designations of Ansar al-Dine

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Trade Security
Friday, 22 March 2013 09:29

Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, the U.S. Department of State has designated Ansar al-Dine (AAD) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). According to the State Department:

"AAD has received support from AQIM since its inception in late 2011, and continues to maintain close ties to the group. AAD has received backing from AQIM in its fight against Malian and French forces, most notably in the capture of the Malian towns of Agulhok, Tessalit, Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, between January and April 2012."

Read more... [US State Department: Terrorist Designations of Ansar al-Dine]
 

Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America

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Public Policy
Saturday, 09 March 2013 10:25

Arthur Freyre

The International Law Section of the Florida Bar this past week hosted a seminar on Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America in Coral Gables, Florida.  The speakers discussed the various opportunities and obstacles in the emerging Latin American market.

The first speaker, Violeta Longino spoke about the business climate in Argentina and Mexico.  Concerning Argentina, she mentioned that Argentina is moving towards Venezuela in the sense of over-regulation. To put this in perspective, it is easier to open a corporation in China or in Afghanistan than it is in Argentina.  In contrast to Argentina, Mexico is moving towards open markets.  There have been reforms in the energy sector, and labor laws.  Mexico has even passed an Anti-Corruption law, which stemmed out of a litigation involving Walmart.

Read more... [Emerging Business and Trade Opportunities in Latin America]
 

Vegas Casino Corp. Deftly Refutes Allegations of Foreign Corruption

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Trade Security
Thursday, 07 March 2013 00:00

Jason I. Poblete

When senior company officials are politically active, or the company has matters pending before the U.S. Congress or federal agencies, your legal and public policy departments have to deal with a whole set of potential issues that other companies do not, at least not with the same intensity. Last week, several newspapers posted a story about the owner of the Las Vegas Sands corporation that is illustrative of what can happen when the law and public policy worlds collide; and also shows how a company should respond. 

The story deals with a very potentially serious legal issue faced by companies that do business around the world, compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA for short. The Las Vegas Sands corporation reported in its annual shareholders report that that company personnel may have violated the books, records, and internal control provisions of this anti-corruption law.

Read more... [Vegas Casino Corp. Deftly Refutes Allegations of Foreign Corruption]
 
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