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European Union: Commission Publishes Proposal to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

(May 26, 2021) On April 21, 2021, the European Commission published a legislative proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). The AI Act addresses the risks of AI systems to the safety or fundamental rights of citizens by following an approach based on risks ranging from unacceptable to minimal. Whereas certain harmful AI-enabled practices […]

Germany: Government Rescinds COVID-19 Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated People

(May 12, 2021) On May 9, 2021, the Ordinance to Regulate the Easing of and Exceptions to Restrictions on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 (COVID-19 Restrictions Exceptions Ordinance) entered into force in Germany. The ordinance restores some rights regarding private gatherings, curfews, and sporting activities of people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are […]

Germany: Uniform Federal COVID-19 “Emergency Brake” Introduced

(Apr. 27, 2021) On April 23, 2021, the Fourth Act to Protect the Public in the Event of an Epidemic Situation of National Significance (Fourth Act) entered into force in Germany. The Fourth Act amends the Infectious Diseases Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz, IfSG) and introduces a federal “emergency brake” that provides for uniform restrictions in all […]

Switzerland: Access to Medical Cannabis Broadened, Pilot Projects for Nonmedical Cannabis to Be Launched

(Apr. 22, 2021) On March 19, 2021, the Swiss parliament approved an amendment to the Swiss Narcotics Act that allows broader access to cannabis for medical use. The amendment is subject to an optional referendum. (Swiss Constitution art. 141.) The deadline for collecting enough signatures to hold a referendum is July 8, 2021. In addition, on […]

Switzerland: Burqa Ban Approved by Voters

(Apr. 16, 2021) On March 7, 2021, Swiss voters approved by a vote of 51.21%–48.79% a popular initiative that prohibits covering one’s face in public, with some enumerated exceptions. Voter turnout was 51.40%. Content of the Prohibition The initiative adds a new article 10a to the Swiss Constitution. Article 10a prohibits covering one’s face in […]

European Union: Commission Amends Authorization Mechanism for Exports of COVID-19 Vaccines

(Apr. 1, 2021) On March 26, 2021, the European Commission’s Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/521, which amends the authorization mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines adopted on January 30, 2021, entered into force. The regulation adds the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered when a European Union (EU) member state authorizes […]

Germany: Laptop Retailer Heavily Fined for Violating General Data Protection Regulation

(Mar. 22, 2021) On January 8, 2021, the data protection commissioner for the German state of Lower Saxony (Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen, LfD Niedersachen) issued a press release announcing that the laptop retailer notebooksbilliger.de AG had been fined 10.4 million euros (about US$12.55 million) for violating the data protection rules of the General Data […]

European Union: Commission Proposes COVID-19 Digital Green Certificate on Vaccination, Testing, and Recovery

(Mar. 18, 2021) On March 17, 2021, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation to create a framework for an interoperable “Digital Green Certificate” to prove that people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative COVID-19 test result, or recovered from COVID-19. The purpose of the certificates is to facilitate the exercise […]

Liechtenstein: European Court of Human Rights Rules Whistleblower’s Dismissal Did Not Infringe Freedom of Expression

(Mar. 17, 2021) On February 16, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held in Gawlik v. Liechtenstein (application no. 23922/19) that the dismissal of a doctor without notice for reporting that his superior allegedly performed illegal euthanasia did not violate his right to freedom of expression under article 10 of the European Convention […]

Germany: All Residents Entitled to at Least One Free COVID-19 Rapid Test per Week

(Mar. 16, 2021) On March 8, 2021, a new Coronavirus Test Regulation (Coronavirus-Testverordnung, TestV) entered into force in Germany. The regulation introduces the right to “resident testing” (Bürgertestung), which entitles all asymptomatic people to at least one free COVID-19 rapid PoC antigen test per week. The number of free tests is subject to local availability. […]