Dealing With The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) maintains a web guide to prepare for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect throughout the UK in 2018.  The guide provides links to relevant GDPR provisions as well as discussion/analysis on applicable GDPR definitions, principles, processing structures, security, accountability, data breaches, exemptions, applications, and international transfers.  The guide also links to applicable EU Article 29 Working Party guidance.  The guide is updated by the ICO on at least a monthly basis.  Part of the guide links to a 12 step preparation outline for SMEs and companies generally to begin conforming processes and procedures to GDPR requirements. Further discussion of GDPR occurs sporadically on the ICO’s blog.  The ICO complied two partially interactive self assessment check lists (one for data controllers and the other for data processors) that contain useful information accessed through the “More Information” tick boxes below each question. Another UK government site describes the new Data Protection Bill 2017 with the UK Parliament’s site outlining the progress of the bill through both Houses and Royal Assent.


Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Starting & Growing Business in New York State

The New York Empire State Development’s Small Business Division has put together a unified website collecting various New York State programs/services offered to New York small business to start-up or expand their small businesses. The site contains a 52-page guide to owning and operating a small business in New York State as well as a directory of New York State small business programs. There is also a link to discover more information about becoming a New York State government contractor and qualifying to bid on New York State government procurement contracts. Finally, the site links to various financing and lending programs offered by New York State government entities–and contains a searchable directory of alternative lenders in New York State catering to small businesses.


Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Technological Innovation Government Programs

For small businesses looking to conduct research and development, while needing funds to realize their small business technology, check out The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR “is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.” Progressing in three phases (I to III) with funding of up to US$150,000 in phase I (6 months) and up to US$1,000,000 (2 years) in phase II, the “SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages and it encourages the commercialization of the technology, product, or service, which, in turn, stimulates the U.S. economy.” The program started in 1982 (President Regan) and encompasses several US federal agencies.

Another US federal government program focusing on small business technology companies is The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) . The STTR “expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena.” Like the SBIR, the STTR is a three phase program offering the same monetary support as the SBIR to small businesses who partner/collaborate with research institutions/laboratories. The goal of the STTR is to “[i]ncrease private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D.”

  • Funding opportunities are listed online, and include current solicitations as well as future opportunities.

If your small business technology enterprise resides in New York (the Empire State), then check out the Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) site. NYSTAR lists a number of programs offered in the State of New for New York companies on the left hand side of their site (click thru the links listed for more info). If your high technology small business is located in Connecticut, take a look at the venture capital program called Connecticut Innovations.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Barriers to Digital Trade

In January 2017 the Congressional Research Service drafted a report entitled Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy. The Report (43 pages long) complies information from across various sectors to describe barriers faced by US companies in exploiting and pursuing digital trade opportunities abroad. The report follows on a
US Trade Representative Fact Sheet on Key Barriers to Digital Trade released last year, among several US governmental initiatives to identity and, possibly, remediate trade barriers to digital commerce. The International Trade Administration housed in the US Department of Commerce describes, via their export.gov site, foreign trade barriers as “any barrier that impedes a company’s ability to trade in a foreign country.” The site gives examples of “common trade barriers” to include “Tariff and Customs[;] Service Barriers [;] Standards [;] Testing [;] Labeling [;] Certification [;] Rules of Origin [;] Government Procurement Contracting [;] Intellectual Property Protection Problems [;] Excessive Government Requirements [;] Excessive Testing or Licensing Fees [;] Bribery [; and] Investment Barriers”.

Companies facing trade barriers may report or complain about them to the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance for investigation. Your US company might also check out the US Department of Commerce’s Country Commercial Guides, which contain (in most of the 125 countries covered) concise discussions of trade barriers within each country guide housed as a submenu under the “Trade Regulations, Customs & Standards” sidebar link. There are also a couple of webinars about “Website Globalization” your US company might want to check out, collectively entitled “Preparing Your Website for Global Commerce.”

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Cybersecurity Tools

If your business operates online, then your business/company should seriously address cybersecurity issues. The Small Business Administration (SBA) dedicates a page describing and linking to “Top Tools and Resources for Small Business Owners”. The page features links to fact sheets, webinars, online courses, and other federal agency resources. One such resource derives from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that provides and generates, through an interactive web site, a Small Biz Cyber Planner that a company may use to “create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns.” There is also a link to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Resilience Review (CRR), “…a no-cost, voluntary, non-technical assessment to evaluate an organization’s operational resilience and cybersecurity practices.” The CRR page contains a number of downloadable forms and resource guides.

An additional SBA webpage contains their “Social Media Cyber-Vandalism Toolkit”, which

…provides guidance and security practices to small businesses using these tools in their online operations. Suggestions and resources prepare users to respond to cyber-hijacking, and will empower digital users to make informed choices and enact future policy.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Check out Global NY & OpentoExport if you are a New York or UK business

If you are a New York state small business thinking about exporting to foreign countries or already selling your products abroad, then take a look at Global NY. The new program offers assistance to New York state small businesses who export as well as foreign businesses looking to invest in New York. Peruse the services and programs offered by Global NY, which include loans, grants, export marketing assistance program, state trade expansion program, and applications for each.

If your a UK based SME, then consider looking at Open to Export’s country guides as well as seeking out assistance from UK Export Finance. The UK Department for International Trade and the Enterprise Europe Network , which also has a New York Branch (The European-American Business Organization, Inc.) for New York small businesses who seek to trade with Europe.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

Social Media and Employment

Chances are your small business utilizes social media to connect with its customers and employees on a daily basis. Your small business may want to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking, which provide guidance on compliance with truth-in-advertising requirements contained in the FTC act. The FTC opines the Act’s requirements apply to small business’ social media. You may also want to check out the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) for information on how the National Labor Relations Act applies to union and non-union social media activities. The NLRB has a short policy statement on the Act’s applicability to employee social media use here and a more complete statement here. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) together with the FTC publishes Background Checks What Employers Need to Know as well as Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know addressing your small business’ use of social media in the hiring process.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share

UK Tariff Tool Classify Imports and Exports

Is your UK small and medium sized business (SME) involved in import or export? If so, check out the UK Trade Tariff tool and accompanying guidance document “Classify imports and exports using the UK Trade Tariff” outlining the use of the tool for your SME’s import or export activities.  The guidance document provides basic information about classification codes, links to additional information (and resources), as well as an email address for classification enquiries; reference is also made to the process of obtaining Binding Tariff Information rulings.

The free on-line UK Trade Tariff is available for your use to look up classification codes. This offers easy access to tariff information by providing commodity code and duty rate listings together with a search engine to facilitate enquiries and allow self-service to commodity code information.-UK Government Guidance Document.

A number of industry/goods specific guides are published by the UK government detailing classification issues. The UK government also published more generalized information on beginning to import or starting to export.


Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney and solicitor, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions.www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT
 

 

Share

Looking to Enter New Top Export Markets

If your a small business or a medium sized business looking to access new export markets look to the International Trade Administration’s Top Markets Series. The Top Market Series analyzes future export opportunities across various commercial sectors. The Series page links to a number of reports complied by the US government to assist exporters in reaching new international markets. After consulting the reports your small business or medium sized company may check out the International Trade Administration’s Data & Analysis page where numerous links take you to hard data on export activities emanating out of the United States. Try also reviewing TradeStats Express for more statistical data on export and import matters.

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions.www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT

Share

Beware Foreign Domestic Laws

Sending personnel overseas into a different country subjects your sales people, executives, and employees generally to the domestic laws (called municipal laws in international law parlance) of the country they visit.  Equally important is whether the personnel you send over to another nation possess dual nationality with the country they travel to; dual nationality (see the US Department of State’s definition) could mean your employee’s US citizenship is disregarded under municipal law.  The US Department of State maintains a checklist for preparations to undertake before traveling abroad, which emphatically cautions:

“While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what’s legal and what’s not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.”

Recent news stories of foreign country based employees of US employers are replete with illustrations of municipal (local) law violations leading to long internments, debilitating conditions, and inaccessibility to outside advisors.  While certain international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Charter as well as non-treaty (called customary international law) instruments like The Universal Declaration of Human Rights instill a system of individual rights nations should protect and recognize, enforcement is largely left to internal governmental processes within individual nations.  There are advisory complaint procedures set out in either treaties themselves or through the UN system (a list of such bodies is maintained by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). Remember nations need to sign (and ratify) treaties and may not possess a system for direct effect of the treaty rights in their domestic governmental systems.

Be aware many nations permit private citizens to initiate criminal complaints under local criminal laws to redress ostensibly private grievances through prosecution under substantive criminal law and procedure codes with punishments of imprisonment available in resolution of the dispute.

Certain US laws limit the ability of US citizens to sue, in US state or federal courts, foreign governments (for example the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act). 

Diligence in exploring a country’s municipal law before sending your employees overseas hopefully avoids local foreign law violations.

As a starting point, use of the US Department of State’s Country Information pages provide general preliminary advisories on specific countries, their local laws, and visa requirements (consider work authorization requirements as well).  Proactively engaging foreign country travel issues with your personnel helps to educate and manage the risks associated with foreign business travel.

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Share