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Technology & Digital round-up: 23 September 2022

Welcome to our latest round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers Leeds Digital Festival 2022, the latest on data reform, ICO activity, action against Google, 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.

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The legal part…

  • The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was due to have its second reading – the first opportunity for MPs to debate its main principles – on 5 September 2022 but, with the change of Prime Minister, a date has yet to be announced. This House of Commons Library research briefing contains useful background information and details on the Bill.
  • The new Prime Minister confirmed in Parliament that the Online Safety Bill will proceed. Liz Truss said that some tweaks may be required to make sure that under-18s are protected from harm while making sure that free speech is allowed.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office published draft guidance on privacy enhancing technologies, to help organisations unlock the potential of data by putting a data protection by design approach into practice.
  • Halfords was fined £30,000 for sending nearly 500,000 unsolicited marketing emails to people without their consent.
  • The ICO also took action against two government departments for persistent failures to respond to information access requests within the statutory time limit.
  • An EU court largely upheld a record multi-billion euro fine against Google for infringing competition rules.
  • The Competition Appeal Tribunal here in the UK has allowed a proposed £920 million claim against Google for alleged infringements relating to Google’s Play Store to proceed as a class action.
  • Meanwhile, it was also reported that Google faces €25 billion legal action in the UK and the EU over its digital advertising practices.
  • The Home Office issued a call for information on unauthorised access to online accounts and personal data. Its aim is to reduce cybercrime offences through measures which reduce the security burden on citizens, and place more responsibility on organisations which manage user accounts and process personal data to protect them.
  • The Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice are consulting until 17 November 2022 on new guidance on how to present information about mid-contract price rises in ads for broadband and mobile services.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority has referred the anticipated acquisition by Microsoft Corporation of Activision Blizzard for an in-depth investigation.

…and in other news

  • The second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum completed a plan to cut its carbon emissions by 99%.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre has developed new machine learning security principles. The guidance includes looking at pragmatic and actionable ways of protecting machine learning systems against exploitation in a real-life context.
  • The NCSC also recently launched a new package of support to help retailers protect themselves and their customers online.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Spotlight initiative. The FCA says that FinTech has an important role to play in driving financial inclusion. Firms wanting to launch an innovative product or service that focuses on fair treatment of consumers, vulnerability, and the new Consumer Duty, are being asked to work with the FCA’s Innovation services.
  • A recent experiment found that robo-advice may play a useful role in helping borrowers, particularly vulnerable households, make the best decisions about which loan repayments to prioritise.
  • The Department of Health and Social Care published guidelines setting out clear rules for how secure data environments will be used to access NHS health and social care data for research and analysis.
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission took action to address discrimination in the use of artificial intelligence. The guidance for the public sector aims to help organisations avoid breaches of equality law, including the public sector equality duty.
  • And finally, in the latest twist in the Twitter/Elon Musk saga, Twitter shareholders voted to approve Musk’s deal to buy the company for $44 billion. The two sides are due to meet in a US court in October.

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

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