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Technology & Digital round-up: 21 November 2023

Welcome to our latest Technology & Digital round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers: the AI Safety Summit and the latest on AI; tech developments in financial services; mandatory digital waste tracking; cyber security; and much more.

The Topline

“In this month’s Technology & Digital round-up, the spotlight is still very much on AI as we take stock of the first global AI Safety Summit, which certainly seems to have kickstarted a much-needed global conversation about how we can both manage the risks and reap the benefits of this rapidly evolving technology.”

 Luke Jackson

Luke Jackson

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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 big news has been the UK’s hosting of the first global AI Safety Summit. Day 1 saw countries from all continents agreeing to the safe and responsible development of so-called ‘frontier’ AI (see our briefing for what this means, what we learned and what comes next). On day 2, world leaders and major AI organisations agreed a plan for safety testing of frontier AI models and the Prime Minister launched the world’s first AI Safety Institute. In a closing speech, the PM confirmed that the international community has agreed to a global expert panel publishing a State of AI Science report, inspired by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • No plans were announced in the recent King’s Speech to bring forward specific legislation on AI. We expect the government’s widely-awaited response to its AI regulation white paper by the end of this year. Over in Europe, the European Data Protection Supervisor issued an opinion on the EU’s forthcoming AI Act, as it enters the final stages of negotiations.
  • The Culture Secretary held a roundtable with leaders of the creative industries to discuss the impact of AI. Key topics included concerns about copyrighted material being used without permission to train AI models such as ChatGPT, and the risk that AI-created content can potentially infringe creative artists’ IP. The discussion also covered the Intellectual Property Office’s work to develop a code of practice on copyright and AI.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority published a feedback statement on AI and machine learning. A discussion paper was jointly published with the Bank of England in October 2022, asking for input on the role supervisory authorities should have in supporting the safe and responsible adoption of AI in UK financial services. Respondents said that a regulatory definition of AI would not be useful, and that regulators could respond to AI’s rapidly changing capabilities by designing and maintaining periodically updated guidance and examples of best practice.
  • HM Treasury published the response to its consultation and call for evidence on the future financial services regulatory regime for cryptoassets, alongside an update on plans for the regulation of fiat-backed stablecoins. On that note, the FCA is seeking feedback until 6 February 2024 to help develop its regime for fiat-backed stablecoins including when used as a means of payment. This is a joint publication package with the Bank of England’s discussion paper and the Prudential Regulation Authority’s Dear CEO letter.
  • The FCA issued a warning about common issues with crypto marketing, and guidance for crypto firms to help them comply with new marketing rules.
  • The Bank of England’s (now former) Deputy Governor for Financial Stability said that a digital pound will likely be needed by the end of the decade. The Bank and HM Treasury have had a strong response to their consultation paper on this topic and a detailed response is expected in the coming months.
  • The Chair of the Competition and Markets Authority gave a speech on consumers, competition and AI. The CMA announced it will publish an update of its AI foundation models review in March 2024. We can also expect in spring a joint statement from the CMA and Information Commissioner’s Office considering areas of crossover between competition, consumer and data protection objectives. The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill recently passed the Commons stages and will now move to the House of Lords for consideration.
  • A Bill to regulate the use of automated vehicles was introduced on 8 November.
  • Ofcom is consulting until 23 February 2024 on protecting people from illegal harms online, as regulator of the new Online Safety Act 2023. This is the first of 4 major consultations.
  • The government plans to introduce mandatory digital waste tracking across the UK from April 2025. The digital waste tracking service will be available for use on a voluntary basis next year.
  • A new report warns of a ‘worrying vacuum’ in government plans to safeguard the public in relation to biometrics and surveillance. The roles of the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner will be revoked if the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill becomes law in spring 2024 as expected. There’s a concern that the existing safeguards are needed more than ever with advances in AI and other technologies.
  • The ICO issued top tips for consumers buying smart devices on Black Friday. The regulator’s currently researching smart tech to identify any privacy-unfriendly practices. Guidance will be published next year.

…and in other news

  • On 16 November we ran a webinar with Lexology where we had a wide-ranging discussion with News UK’s Chief Technology Officer around unlocking and controlling AI. Click here to view the recording.
  • The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland warned boards they need to step up their governance approach to be ready for AI.
  • The Security Minister gave a speech on fraud and AI, confirming that the UK will host a summit in London in March 2024 to agree a co-ordinated action plan to reform the global system and respond to the growing, transnational threat of fraud.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre warned of an enduring and significant threat to the UK’s critical infrastructure as it published its latest Annual Review.
  • The NCSC also: published a blog post on what businesses need to know about AIT (Artificial Inflation of Traffic) fraud, which is on the rise; issued new guidance to help system and risk owners plan their migration to post-quantum cryptography; and encouraged organisations to take action to mitigate vulnerabilities affecting Cisco IOS XE.
  • The government published research on the use of IT systems by UK businesses for managing supply chain data. Click here for more about our supply chain services and how we can help.
  • And finally, next month we’ll be taking a break from the usual Technology & Digital round-up as we publish a special edition reflecting on what came to pass (and what didn’t) in 2023. We’ll follow that up in January with our top tech predictions for 2024!

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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