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Technology & Digital round-up: 29 July 2022

Welcome to our latest round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers developments in data reform and AI regulation, digital asset law reform, news from the ICO, the latest wearable technology, 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 much-anticipated Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was introduced to Parliament on 18 July 2022. This follows the government’s recently-published consultation response on data reform as the UK forges its own post-Brexit path. The aim is to strengthen the UK’s high data protection standards, introduce tougher fines for nuisance calls and cut down on unnecessary paperwork to free up businesses. The Bill’s second reading – the first opportunity for MPs to debate its main principles – takes place on 5 September 2022. We will monitor and report on developments.
  • In related news, the government published a new AI paper, outlining its approach to regulating the technology in the UK and calling for views until 26 September 2022. The approach is based on six core principles that existing regulators must apply, with flexibility to implement them in ways that best meet the use of AI in the regulators’ sectors. The principles include defining legal persons’ responsibility for AI governance. The paper says that accountability for outcomes produced by AI and legal liability must always rest with an identified or identifiable legal person, corporate or natural. The government’s long-awaited AI White Paper and public consultation is expected in late 2022.
  • The Law Commission is consulting until 4 November 2022 on provisional law reform proposals to make sure that the law recognises and protects digital assets (including crypto-tokens and cryptoassets) in a digitised world. The paper recognises that English law is flexible enough to accommodate digital assets but argues that certain aspects now need reform. This is so that digital assets benefit from consistent legal recognition and protection in a way that acknowledges their nuanced features.
  • We published a special round-up publication on blockchain, NFTs and smart contracts, looking back at the highlights of what we’ve covered over the past few months and considering what we might expect to see in the future.
  • Using powers under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, the government blocked the University of Manchester from licensing vision-sensing technology to a Chinese company on national security grounds. This is the first time an acquisition of IP has been blocked under the new rules.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office is consulting until 22 September 2022 on its new three-year plan. In his speech introducing the plan, the Information Commissioner talked about providing certainty and flexibility to businesses, saying that he believed the package of actions would bring enormous savings across the economy. Among other things, there will be investment in a series of services, tools and initiatives to enable organisations to benefit from the ICO’s advice and the experience of others.
  • The ICO updated its Guide to Binding Corporate Rules to include new guidance, application forms and tables for data controllers and processors. BCRs are typically used by multinational corporate groups for intra-group transfers of personal data across borders.
  • The ICO also published a webpage setting out five things learned from the recent Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference 2022.
  • From 30 August 2022 cryptoasset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers will be required to comply with the reporting obligations of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority and Ofcom published a joint statement on online safety and competition in digital markets.
  • Two court rooms in the new City of London Law Courts will be dedicated to specialist cybercrime matters. The complex is scheduled to be operational in 2026.

…and in other news

  • The National Cyber Security Centre is inviting organisations to help develop a new Cyber Advisor service.
  • Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch filed a legal complaint with the Information Commissioner claiming that retailer Southern Co-operative’s use of live facial recognition cameras in its supermarkets is unlawful.
  • Electric car firm Tesla sold off most of its substantial Bitcoin holdings for $963 million as the value of the cryptocurrency plunged.
  • The dispute between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Twitter over Mr Musk’s aborted bid to buy the company is scheduled for trial in October.
  • The UK is set to have the world’s biggest automated drone superhighway within the next two years. The 164-mile Skyway project will connect towns and cities including Cambridge and Rugby and is part of a £273 million funding package for the aerospace sector.
  • India’s central bank reportedly wants to ban cryptocurrencies. The country’s minister of finance said that formulating any legislation for regulation or banning of crypto will require “significant international collaboration”.
  • And finally, select Manchester City fans will be offered a “smart scarf” next season. A biometric sensor integrated into the fabric will measure the wearer’s heart rate, body temperature and emotional responses.

More from Walker Morris

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