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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 […]

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait: Authorities Impose New Preventive Measures to Combat Spread of COVID-19 Virus during Ramadan

(Apr. 15, 2021) Between March 30 and April 7, 2021, authorities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Kuwait announced new preventive measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus during the Islamic holy month of the Ramadan. The month of Ramadan began on April 12 and runs through May 12. Saudi Arabia On April 7, […]

Sweden: Privacy Protection Authority Finds Police Use of Facial Recognition Illegal, Issues Fines

(Apr. 6, 2021) On February 10, 2021, the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY, Integrationsmyndigheten, formerly Datainspektionen) issued a decision whereby it fined the Swedish Police Authority 2.5 million Swedish kronor (about US$296,000) for violating the Crime Data Act (Brottsdatalagen) by using the facial recognition application Clearview AI. The artificial intelligence application was used intermittently […]

Israel: Facing Criminal Trial, Prime Minister Finds Authority Limited by Supreme Court Decision Upholding Attorney General’s Conflict of Interest Opinion

(Apr. 2, 2021) As Israeli Prime Minister (PM) Binyamin Netanyahu faces hearings scheduled to begin on April 5, 2021, in his criminal trial for charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust, he finds his prime ministerial authority limited by a recent decision of the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting as a High Court of Justice […]

United Kingdom: New Law Provides Framework for Covert Human Intelligence

(Mar. 31, 2021) The United Kingdom enacted the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Act (the CHIS Act) on March 1, 2021. The CHIS Act provides a framework to provide a criminal conduct authorization (CCA) that enables covert human intelligence sources (CHIS) to participate in actions during the course of their work that would otherwise constitute a […]

Japan: Supreme Court Finds Exemption of Confucian Temple from Paying Rent to City Unconstitutional

(Mar. 12, 2021) On February 24, 2021, Japan’s Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the city government of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, to exempt a Confucian temple from paying land usage fees because such an exemption violated the principle of separation of religion and state. (2019(Gyo-tsu)222 (S. Ct., Feb. 24, 2021), in Japanese; to […]

England: Government Proposes Ban on Housing Children Under 16 in Unregulated Accommodations

(Mar. 11, 2021) In response to a consultation (survey) launched on February 12, 2021, on the provision of unregulated accommodations for children in care, England’s government recently announced its intention to amend regulations to prohibit children under 16 years old from being placed in independent or semi-independent accommodations. This type of accommodation is not required […]

New Zealand: Amendments Enacted to Remove Barriers to the Establishment of Maori Seats by Local Authorities

(Mar. 5, 2021) On March 1, 2021, the Local Electoral (Maori Wards and Maori Constituencies) Amendment Act 2021 (2021 Act) received royal assent, having been passed by the New Zealand Parliament on February 23, 2021. The amendments to the Local Electoral Act 2001 were passed under urgency procedures, as the government considered that local authorities […]

Germany: Higher Regional Court Rules Agreement between Google and German Ministry of Health on “Knowledge Panels” Violates Competition Law

(Mar. 4, 2021) On February 10, the Higher Regional Court Munich I (Landgericht München I, LG München I) granted two applications for preliminary injunctions against the German Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG) and Google Ireland, Ltd. (Google) requested by NetDoktor.de GmbH (NetDoktor). The court held that the agreement between the BMG and Google […]

Brazil: Chamber of Deputies Approves Autonomy of Brazilian Central Bank

(Mar. 2, 2021) On February 10, 2021, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved Draft Law No. 19/2019, which grants autonomy to the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil). The law defines the period for the mandates of the president and directors of the Central Bank, which must not coincide with that of the president […]