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Technology & Digital round-up: 20 October 2023

Welcome to our latest Technology & Digital round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers: the latest on AI; ICO employee monitoring guidance; a CMA investigation into the cloud market; and much more.

“In this month’s Technology & Digital round-up the focus on AI continues as we approach the global AI safety summit. With the rise in remote working, we’ve also seen welcome ICO guidance on lawful monitoring of employees. And the Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into cloud services – a market Ofcom estimated to be worth £7.5 billion last year. Read on for the latest.”

 Luke Jackson, Director, Commercial

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The legal part…

  • We reported in last month’s Technology & Digital round-up that the global AI safety summit will take place at Bletchley Park on 1 and 2 November. The government has since published introductory information and a programme for the summit, which will focus on how to best manage the risks from the most recent advances in AI (so-called frontier AI).
  • Following the AI Safety Summit our Technology and Digital team will be presenting a webinar with Lexology called Unlocking and Controlling AI at 12pm on 16 November. Join us as we speak to Simon Farnsworth, EVP of News UK about the rising use of AI in businesses as well as the associated financial and legal risks.
  • In a Politico podcast, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology said the UK doesn’t want to set up a new global AI regulator. Instead, the summit will showcase the UK’s Frontier AI Taskforce and is designed to be the start of a network of countries working together.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority revealed the winners of the first global greenwashing TechSprint. In a speech on AI in financial services, the FCA’s chief data officer noted that domestic and international collaboration will be increasingly important to encourage the safe and responsible adoption of AI in UK finance markets. A feedback statement on the FCA’s AI discussion paper is expected shortly.
  • According to a recent University of Cambridge report, the UK lacks the computing capacity and capital required to build generative machine learning models fast enough to compete with US companies and should focus instead on leveraging these new AI systems for real-world applications. But it says those plans could falter without new legislation to make sure the UK has solid legal and ethical AI regulation.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office published guidance for employers to ensure lawful monitoring in the workplace. It considers specific types of monitoring practices, including the use of biometric data to monitor timekeeping and attendance.
  • After a referral from Ofcom, the Competition and Markets Authority launched a market investigation into the supply of public cloud infrastructure services in the UK. Ofcom’s recent market study identified features that make it more difficult for businesses to switch and use multiple cloud suppliers. The CMA has now published the scope of the investigation.
  • The financial promotions regime was extended to promotions of qualifying cryptoassets on 8 October, with the FCA issuing 146 alerts about cryptoasset promotions on that first day.
  • The Information Rights Tribunal allowed an appeal by facial recognition database company Clearview AI Inc against a £7.5 million ICO fine for data protection law infringements. The Tribunal found the ICO had no jurisdiction because of a specific exemption around foreign law enforcement.
  • The ICO is asking organisations interested in participating in the ICO’s Regulatory Sandbox in 2024 to get in touch by 31 December. It’s accepting expressions of interest under the following current areas of focus: biometric processing; emerging technologies; or exceptional innovations.
  • The CMA cleared Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision after Microsoft made a concession, described as a game-changer, that will see a different company buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. The CMA’s Chief Executive had a strong message for businesses and their advisers, saying that the regulator “won’t be swayed by corporate lobbying” and that “the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA”.

…and in other news

  • The National Cyber Security Centre published a blog post with a new collection of content on supply chain cyber security.
  • We’ve also seen a new set of NCSC principles to strengthen the resilience of organisations’ cloud backups from ransomware attackers.
  • The NCSC and National Protective Security Authority launched a joint campaign providing security advice to help start-ups protect their innovation. The heads of the Five Eyes alliance security agencies recently warned of commercial secrets being obtained by China.
  • The Science, Innovation and Technology Committee is seeking evidence for its inquiry into the cyber resilience of the UK’s critical national infrastructure.
  • In a new report on NFTs in sport and culture, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee warned artists, consumers and club reputations are at risk from the rise of cryptoassets.
  • The government launched a new £400,000 innovation challenge to tackle bias in AI systems.
  • Google and the University of Cambridge entered into a multi-year agreement to facilitate AI research, focusing on areas such as responsible AI, robotics, healthcare and climate change.
  • Nvidia announced a partnership with Foxconn to create AI factories.

If you have queries about any of the points covered in this edition of the Technology & Digital round-up, or need further advice or assistance, please get in touch with SallyLuke or one of our Technology & Digital experts.

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