The start of a new year on January 1 also signals changes in #laws governing technology and how it will be used going forward. And while not all laws take effect immediately, changes being considered in everything from fake news on Facebook to anti-terrorism and hacking privileges by the #FBI are setting the stage for a potentially contentious year ahead not just in the U.S., but globally as well.

Facebook could be fined in Germany

The recent spate of headlines surrounding concerns over whether Facebook is promoting fake news stories has led a number of countries to consider legislation. In Germany, ministers plan to introduce a bill that will impose huge fines on the social media giant (over $500,000 per post) for not promptly deleting fake stories from the website.

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A law in China with censorship implications was passed last month and goes into effect next June. The Chinese legislation will hold companies accountable for any information not previously approved by the government that is widely disseminated online. The law also requires foreign companies to store their business-related data on servers that are located inside the country and have provisions which could mandate “backdoor” access for the Chinese government, a distinct threat to intellectual property protections for tech firms.

Some European countries will also press for laws that provide citizens with the “right to disconnect.” France, which earlier this year imposed limits for companies with 50 or more employees on when they could send work-related emails, will consider a proposed law to grant workers the right to ignore employer emails completely when they are outside of the office.

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In the U.S., two tech-related laws passed in California will go into effect next month. One affects ride sharing services such as #Uber and Lyft, who must now perform local and national background checks for the criminal histories of potential drivers. Another now gives voters the right to take a selfie when they are in the voting booth, including a picture of their own ballot.

Porn access may be limited in one U.S. state

In South Carolina, legislators will consider a proposed law in 2017 that will block access to porn websites for any new computers sold in the state. Opting out of the porn filter would require users to pay a $20 fee.

And the state of Pennsylvania has put the license plate registration sticker industry out of business. Starting January 1, license plate reader technology will allow law enforcement officers to verify registrations without the use of visual stickers.

Recent actions this month will set the stage for anti-terrorism efforts in 2017. Twitter, Microsoft, YouTube and Facebook announced they will jointly create a database to help them quickly remove content seen as either terrorist-recruitment or efforts to radicalize their users.

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The four companies will share images and videos they removed in an effort to refine technology to weed out future problems.

New rule changes quietly took effect at the start of December that expanded the ability of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to search computers on a national scale. Known as “Rule 41,” the new procedures grant FBI agents the ability to request a warrant to hack computers across the country for a criminal or terrorist-threat investigation. Previously, agents had to obtain warrants from magistrates in every district under suspicion. The Senate passed the rule change at the end of November.

Finally, Tunisia will consider a law in 2017 that would require all of their citizens to carry an ID card containing personal biometric data such as fingerprints, facial photo, and all relevant government numbers. Don’t leave home without it.