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Technology & Digital round-up: 18 February 2022

Welcome to our latest round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers court guidance on low value data breach claims, HMRC’s seizing of NFTs, the Super Bowl advert that “broke the Internet”, and much more.

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Get in touch with Sally Mewies or Luke Jackson if you have any queries or need advice or assistance.

The legal part…

  • The ICO is seeking views on its updated draft guidance on anonymisation, pseudonymisation and privacy enhancing technologies. Three chapters have been published so far. Upcoming topics include accountability and governance requirements. The ICO will consult on the full draft guidance in the autumn.
  • Our data breach litigation specialists look at the latest in a recent run of cases dealing with low value data breach claims and consider the court’s further guidance in this area. The decision is consistent with the courts’ approach to giving short shrift to low value, unmeritorious or exaggerated claims – a welcome trend for data controllers.
  • The court refused to grant a mandatory interim injunction requiring a software developer to deliver up to its customer software, source code and other documents required for completion of an IT platform which it had developed for the customer under a software development agreement, following disputed allegations that the product was incomplete, late and defective. The decision reflects the high bar that applicants seeking this type of relief need to overcome in order to be successful.
  • HMRC seized three NFTs as part of an investigation into a suspected VAT fraud scheme involving 250 fake companies, the first UK law enforcement agency to do so.
  • The Industry Working Group on Electronic Execution of Documents published its interim report, which explains the current situation in England and Wales (including how the formal requirements for some common documents can be fulfilled), offers best practice guidelines based on existing technology, and includes recommendations for future reform. Watch out for our upcoming briefing.
  • We reported previously that the FCA is consulting on strengthening its financial promotion rules for high risk investments, including cryptoassets, following announcement of the Government’s plan to strengthen the rules on cryptoasset advertisements and protect consumers from misleading claims. See our recent briefing to find out more.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority fined Meta for a second time after the company breached the CMA’s initial enforcement order concerning the purchase of online database and search engine Giphy. Elsewhere, the CMA accepted commitments offered by Google that address the CMA’s competition concerns resulting from investigating Google’s proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. The ICO’s Commissioner’s Opinion sets out clear data protection standards that organisations must meet when developing online advertising technologies.
  • Over in Europe, France’s data regulator is the latest to find the use of Google Analytics non-compliant with the EU GDPR. This follows a recent similar ruling from the Austrian data regulator.

…and in other news

  • Coinbase reportedly spent $14 million on a TV advertisement during the Super Bowl to air a bouncing QR code for 60 seconds. The QR code led to the crypto-trading platform’s website, which crashed due to the influx of new visitors.
  • McDonald’s “entered the metaverse” after filing a series of trademarks for a virtual restaurant that will deliver food online and in person.
  • More bad press for Big Tech after it emerged that anti-vaxxers in France were buying fake Covid passes online, often promoted on mainstream social media platforms.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre warned of a growing wave of increasingly sophisticated ransomware attacks in its first ever joint advisory with international partners on the threat. The NCSC’s CEO strongly encourages UK CEOs and boards to familiarise themselves with the alert and to ensure their IT teams are taking the correct actions to bolster resilience.
  • Media company Forbes announced a $200 million strategic investment from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure providers.
  • An augmented reality device specifically designed for the construction industry has been developed, which should make it easier for those inspecting the site to notice when building works are deviating from the original plans and allow construction managers to decide whether the works or the plans need changing.
  • The Government published an update on the National Data Strategy Forum – a structured programme of engagement designed to ensure that a diverse range of perspectives beyond Government and the public sector continue to inform the implementation of the National Data Strategy. The five key workstreams are: unlocking the power of data for everyone everywhere; trust in data; data reform; net zero; and measuring the data ecosystem.
  • And finally, a retired British property investor hopes to convince thousands of cryptocurrency investors to move to his remote South Pacific island and form a regulation-free “crypto utopia”.

Get in touch with one of our experts if you have any queries or need advice or assistance.




Head of Technology & Digital

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