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Technology & Digital round-up: 28 April 2023

Welcome to our latest Technology & Digital round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers: UK plans for AI regulation; a new Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill; quantum technologies; cyber security; 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 government’s consulting until 21 June on proposals for implementing a pro-innovation approach to AI regulation, having finally published its long-awaited white paper. The UK doesn’t plan to introduce new legislation or create a new, single regulator. Existing regulators (such as the Information Commissioner’s Office and Health and Safety Executive) will be empowered to come up with tailored, context-specific approaches that suit the way AI is being used in their sectors. See our briefing for details.
  • Meanwhile, the Italian data protection regulator banned OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, from processing Italian users’ data amid privacy concerns.
  • The ICO published a set of eight questions that those developing or using generative AI that processes personal data need to ask themselves.
  • The much-anticipated Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill was introduced to Parliament on 25 April. According to the government’s press release, new powers will boost competition and clamp down on subscription traps and fake reviews. Watch out for our upcoming briefing on the proposed legislation.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority blocked Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision. See this statement on mergers and digital markets from the CMA’s Chair and CEO.
  • TikTok was fined £12.7 million by the ICO for a number of breaches of data protection law.
  • In a recent speech, the FCA’s Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer talked about innovation, AI and the future of financial regulation: “With the rapid changes in technology and recent game-changing innovations such as ChatGPT, we know we can’t rest. We need to keep up the pace. Now, more than ever, firms need us as regulators to embrace innovation and lead from the front”. Among other things, a permanent Digital Sandbox service is being created. The FCA’s also leading the Global Financial Innovation Network’s first ever virtual Greenwashing TechSprint.
  • Ofcom is proposing to refer the UK cloud market to the CMA for further investigation. Responses are requested by 17 May.
  • Our Sports Employment lawyers considered the legal implications surrounding use of social media by employees, workers and consultants; and offered their practical advice.

…and in other news

  • The Science, Innovation and Technology Committee launched an inquiry into commercialising quantum technologies following publication of the government’s National Quantum Strategy. We mentioned in the last Technology & Digital round-up the government’s new Science and Technology Framework. Quantum technologies is identified as one of five critical technologies, alongside AI, engineering biology, future telecommunications and semiconductors.
  • In related news, the government published its UK International Technology Strategy, setting out ten priority actions in its mission to make the UK a science and technology superpower by 2030.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre published a new guide with its international partners, calling on manufacturers to make sure technology products are made secure by design and by default.
  • An alert was issued to critical national infrastructure organisations, warning of an emerging cyber threat from state-aligned groups.
  • The NCSC’s CEO highlighted the importance of CEOs and board members engaging with the issue of cyber security, as a refreshed cyber security toolkit was launched to help boards govern online risk.
  • In a busy month for the NCSC, we also saw: a warning about the rising threat from irresponsible use of commercial hacking tools over the next five years; a joint advisory with the US to help organisations counter malicious activity used by Russian cyber actors to exploit poorly maintained Cisco routers; and joint guidance with the NCSC’s international partners to help communities balance the cyber security risks involved with creating smart cities.
  • The government published the results of its latest cyber security breaches survey. While the results for medium and large businesses, in terms of their experiences and the actions they are taking, were highly consistent with the previous year, the results for micro businesses and, to a lesser extent, small businesses, reflected a decreased prioritisation of cyber security, a reduction in cyber hygiene measures and less identification of breaches. For the first time, the majority of large businesses reported taking actions to review cyber risks from their suppliers.
  • The Economic Secretary to the Treasury confirmed that the Royal Mint won’t be going ahead for now with the launch of an NFT.
  • We mentioned in the last Technology & Digital round-up that the Law Commission advised that robust regulation is needed before remote driving technology (which enables a person to drive a vehicle from a remote location) is on our roads. In separate but related news, Ford became the first automaker to bring government-approved “hands-off, eyes-on” advanced driver assistance technology to Great Britain’s motorways.
  • And finally, further fuelling the debate around issues of copyright law (and ethics) in the world of AI, pop singer Grimes invited people to use her voice for AI-generated songs, saying she would split the royalties 50/50; and a Sony World Photography Award winner refused his prize after revealing that his winning entry was actually created using AI.

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.

More from Walker Morris

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