Apple responds to court order addressing the alleged San Bernardino shooter’s locked phone, the U.S. Senate confirms new FDA commissioner, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- After the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) filed a motion to compel Apple’s compliance with a court order—which requires that Apple help create a “backdoor” into the one of the alleged San Bernardino assailant’s locked phones, effectively allowing the FBI to bypass some of the phone’s key security features in order to unlock it—Apple fired back, filing a motion to vacate the order in which it argued that the FBI’s demands would “open the floodgates” to all but limitless Government access to citizens’ personal information, and ultimately would “undermine the basic security and privacy interests of hundreds of millions of individuals around the globe.”
- In an 89-4 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Duke University cardiologist and clinical researcher Dr. Robert Califf as the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner—a confirmation that had been stalled for months due to what some senators argued would be Califf’s failure to address the FDA’s allegedly overly-lenient approach to prescription painkillers in light of his background.
- In a hearing to evaluate how regulations affect “jobs, wages and startups,” the U.S. House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law heard testimony from regulation and policy researchers about the negative impact of labor regulations on entrepreneurship and of regulatory costs on poverty through consumer prices, as well as from the head of a public interest organization and a policy researcher about the benefits of regulation on safety and jobs.
- Ahead of the referendum where UK citizens will decide if the United Kingdom will continue to be a member state of the European Union, the Cabinet Office announced that the European Union agreed to the UK’s proposals for EU reforms, including to lower small businesses’ regulatory costs in an effort to increase entrepreneurship through a requirement that the European Commission assess the regulatory costs of legislation every year and determine if any of that legislation can be repealed.
- The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee pushed back against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule that would broaden the definition of “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), releasing a report in which the Committee addressed the “flawed process” by which the DOL issued the rule—underscoring similar concerns that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other parties had expressed about what they felt was a hastily-crafted rule that would “harm low- and middle-income Americans by increasing the cost of investment advice,” as well as “investors and the U.S. capital markets.”
- The Surface Transportation Board (STB) added thirty days to the comment deadline for its proposed rule that would shift how the STB interprets Amtrak’s priority on railroad tracks over freight trains from an “absolute preference” to a “systemic, global approach” that would enable freight trains to receive priority in some instances—a proposal that Amtrak reportedly stated “ignores the clear, plain and unambiguous words of the statute.”
- As the April 18 tax filing deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published its 2016 “Dirty Dozen” list that provides common scams related to taxes, including fraudulent IRS emails that are used to transmit viruses to an individual’s computer when accessed or to steal an individual’s information through a fake IRS website—a scam that the IRS stated has increased this year by approximately 400%.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report investigated the U.S. Department of Human & Health Service’s (HHS) response in caring for and resettling unaccompanied child refugees. The report recommended that HHS improve monitoring of the children after they are released from the agency’s care.
- In his recent BloombergView column, Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School, supported calorie labels in restaurants. Sunstein explained that calories labels help overweight people reduce their weight, and argued that there is reason to be confident in these policies despite some negative preliminary findings.
- In a recent paper, Bruce Friedrich, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, highlighted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) underenforcement of humane slaughter regulations. Friedrich argued that, as a result, reforms to the laws and regulations governing slaughterhouse practices over the past fifty years have not resulted in more humane slaughter conditions.