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Technology & Digital round-up – 20 May 2022

Welcome to our latest round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers smart legal contracts, data reform, the crypto “crash”, 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.

We’ll be taking a break for the Platinum Jubilee – our next edition will be published on 17 June.

The legal part…

  • In our latest video and accompanying article, Sally demystifies smart legal contracts and sets out some of the practical legal considerations for commercial parties.
  • The Queen’s Speech set out plans for a Data Reform Bill following the recent consultation on post-Brexit changes to the UK’s data protection regime. One of the Bill’s key elements is designing a more flexible, outcomes-focused approach to data protection that helps create a culture of data protection, rather than “tick box” exercises. It is not clear to what extent the new regime will diverge from the EU’s and how the current data adequacy decision may be affected as a result. The devil will be in the detail.
  • Despite the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Lloyd v Google, which appears to have curbed data breach litigation to some extent, Google and DeepMind (Google’s AI division) are now facing a UK class action alleging unlawful use of approximately 1.6 million individuals’ confidential medical records.
  • The government published its response to the consultation on a pro-competition regime for digital markets. See this press release for a summary of its plans, which include putting the new Digital Markets Unit on a statutory footing “in due course”. It appears this will be achieved through the Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill also announced in the Queen’s Speech. The fact that the Bill will be in “draft” form brings into question how long it will be before the proposed measures take effect.
  • In related news, the Competition and Markets Authority published its joint advice with Ofcom following a request from government which sets out how consumers and content providers could benefit if the power of the biggest tech firms is properly managed.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office launched its AI toolkit to help organisations reduce the risks to individuals’ rights and freedoms caused by their own AI systems.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority recently hosted a two-day CryptoSprint to explore how the evolving world of cryptoassets could be regulated in the UK and reminded consumers of the risks of investing in cryptoassets including NFTs. See this recent news story on how Generation Z is hooked on cryptocurrency and NFTs.

…and in other news

  • The government announced a £50 million data innovation hub for manufacturers to accelerate digital tech. The Smart Manufacturing Data Hub will support small and medium size manufacturers in sectors including food and drink and aerospace to capture and better utilise their data, helping them increase productivity, growth and sustainability.
  • The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched its ‘Connected tech: smart or sinister?’ inquiry to examine the impacts of the increasing prevalence of smart and connected technology and what needs to be done to ensure it is safe and secure for its users.
  • A recent survey found that most central banks are exploring central bank digital currencies, and more than a quarter of them are now developing or running concrete pilots.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre issued a joint advisory setting out practical steps for managed service providers and their customers to take to protect themselves. It also: launched a new email security tool to help organisations check their defences and keep out cyber attackers; entered into a landmark partnership with industry which will see access to scam websites instantly blocked; and published streamlined guidance to help organisations move to the cloud.
  • Elon Musk cast doubt on his $44 billion Twitter deal after tweeting that it could not move forward until he has proof that less than 5% of its users are fake or spam accounts.

If you have any queries or need further advice or assistance, please get in touch with one of our experts.

More from Walker Morris

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Sally
Mewies

Partner

Head of Technology & Digital

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Luke
Jackson

Director

Commercial

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Luke's contact details

'+44 (0)113 283 4412

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