Online political microtargeting involves monitoring people’s online behaviour, and using the collected data, sometimes enriched with other data, to show people-targeted political advertisements. Online political microtargeting is widely used in the US; Europe may not be far behind. This paper maps microtargeting’s promises and threats to democracy. For example, microtargeting promises to optimise the match between the electorate’s concerns and political campaigns, and to boost campaign engagement and political participation. But online microtargeting could also threaten democracy. For instance, a political party could, misleadingly, present itself as a different one-issue party to different individuals. And data collection for microtargeting raises privacy concerns. We sketch possibilities for policymakers if they seek to regulate online political microtargeting. We discuss which measures would be possible, while complying with the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The role of banks in projects which result in adverse human rights impacts has been brought to the fore in recent years. However, there are serious obstacles to regulate the (often extraterritorial) financing activities of banks under national law. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises attempt to respond to this ‘governance gap’, stipulating that all business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights. However, banks’ compliance with such standards has been frustrated by a failure to understand how these standards apply to them.In 2016, the Dutch Government collaborated with the Dutch banking sector and civil society to create the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement: a multistakeholder initiative initiated to improve adhering banks’ performance with respect to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. This article reviews how the actors involved drafted the Agreement in light of prevalent divergences in understandings over how human rights apply to banks’ financing activities. It then looks to scholarship on transnational private regulation, experimentalism governance, and social constructivism in mapping three roles the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement could play: regulation, experimentation, and advocacy.
Tender-based public procurement could be a useful tool to promote compliance with human rights and labour law obligations in the execution of public contracts. However, at the same time, the instrument itself is likely to negatively affect contracting authorities’ decisions to effectively use this potential, especially during the execution phase.This paper assesses the impact of several general characteristics of tender-based public procurement in light of the promotion of human rights compliance. Could this objective for example benefit from the inherent competitive setting of a tendering procedure, the fundamental principles of public procurement and the resulting doctrine of substantial change? Does tender-based public procurement comprise any inherent barriers when using this as an instrument to promote human rights compliance?By answering these questions, the paper aims to provide a realistic perspective on the potential of tender-based public procurement as an instrument to promote human rights compliance and the barriers that should be taken into account in this regard. This could be a sensible starting point for any regulatory measures aiming to further facilitate the promotion of human rights compliance through public procurement.
There has been a polarised debate on the desirability of import restrictions to increase corporate accountability for child labour that occurs in global supply chains. Some scholars have indicated that states in favour of imposing import restrictions could sidestep this debate relying upon the perceptions that people in the importing market might have. They have based this argument on the case law of the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism (WTO DSM). The attitude-behaviour gap has, however, been largely overlooked in their analyses. This behavioural phenomenon provides an explanation as to why there is an inconsistency between what people value or believe and what they actually do. This essay revisits the WTO DSM's case law in order to determine whether such values or beliefs might justify import restrictions. On balance, this essay finds that the WTO DSM has not sufficiently taken the attitude-behaviour gap into account in its interpretation of Article III(4) and Article XX(a) 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Traditionally, International Investment Agreements (IIAs) do not include obligations for investors concerning human rights, international labour standards and environmental protection standards owed to a host state. IIAs were designed to protect and promote foreign investors and their investments. However, with the inclusion of broader non-economic objectives, i.e. sustainable development objectives, in a new generation of IIAs, the content of investment treaties in terms of the rights and obligations of states and investors has been changing. There has been a shift towards recognizing the responsibility and accountability of investors, which is observable in a number of recent IIAs and in several decisions by investment tribunals. This article analyses the legal implications of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions found in a number of IIAs in terms of investor responsibility and accountability. Furthermore, the article discusses the obligations of investors under human rights treaties and the role of the investor’s conduct in deciding on substantive investment protection guarantees, such as the fair and equitable treatment (FET) of investors.
In recent decades, some jurisdictions have shown a growing trend of private claims alleging direct liability of parent companies for overseas human rights abuses (‘Tort Liability Claims’). These cases form part of an international effort aimed at establishing public control over the private operations of transnational corporations (‘TNCs’). Their success in addressing the challenges of cross-border operations of corporate groups, however, depends on the rules governing domestic courts’ power to adjudicate disputes. One of the consequences of globalisation is that the territorial focus of the adjudicative jurisdiction is often contrary to the transnational nature of the TNCs’ activities. The central purpose of this article is to demonstrate how jurisdictional issues arising in Tort Liability Claims challenge the traditional paradigm of private international law as an abstract and technical discipline by necessitating increasing involvement of domestic courts in the regulation of international business. The article focuses on the rules of jurisdiction applied by the English courts and, in particular, on the much-debated decisions in Lungowe v Vedanta and Okpabi v Shell.