, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 99-115

A legal cross-references taxonomy for reasoning about compliance requirements

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Abstract

Companies must ensure their software complies with relevant laws and regulations to avoid the risk of costly penalties, lost reputation, and brand damage resulting from non-compliance. Laws and regulations contain internal cross-references to portions of the same legal text, as well as cross-references to external legal texts. These cross-references introduce ambiguities, exceptions, as well as other challenges to regulatory compliance. Requirements engineers need guidance as to how to address cross-references in order to comply with the requirements of the law. Herein, we analyze each external cross-reference within the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), and the GLBA Financial Privacy Rule to determine whether a cross-reference either introduces a conflicting requirement, a conflicting definition, or refines an existing requirement. Herein, we propose a legal cross-reference taxonomy to aid requirements engineers in classifying cross-references as they specify compliance requirements. Analyzing cross-references enables us to address conflicting requirements that may otherwise thwart legal compliance. We identify five sets of conflicting compliance requirements and recommend strategies for resolving these conflicts.