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Technology & Digital round-up: 4 March 2022

Welcome to our latest round-up of legal and non-legal tech-related news stories. This edition covers recent advertising standards activity, electronic execution of documents, smart contracts, crypto scams, 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 Advertising Standards Authority published advice for advertisers of cryptoassets, saying that they must take particular care to ensure they do not mislead consumers and are not socially irresponsible in the way they promote cryptoassets – complex and volatile products that are also becoming increasingly popular and widespread in the UK.
  • In related news, the ASA banned a poster for a cryptocurrency displayed across the London Underground for irresponsibly exploiting consumers’ fears of missing out, trivialising investment in cryptocurrency, and taking advantage of consumers’ lack of experience or credulity by not making clear that capital gains tax could be payable on profits from investing.
  • The ASA also recently published a feature on “dark patterns” and advertising regulation, and what the ASA is doing to tackle them.
  • We published an essential update for businesses on the electronic execution of documents.
  • LawtechUK and its UK Jurisdiction Taskforce launched the ‘Smarter Contracts’ project by publishing a report which aims to explain how smarter contracts and blockchain technology are currently being used. In his speech introducing the report, the Master of the Rolls said the theory is to dispel the myth that blockchain is a fringe technology used only by those wanting to risk their livelihoods or possibly make their fortunes on volatile cryptoassets like Bitcoin.
  • The High Court recently granted a total of six worldwide freezing orders, interim injunctions and disclosure orders against ‘persons unknown’ for the benefit of a UK resident who had unwittingly fallen victim to a suspected cryptocurrency investment scam. The decision reaffirms England and Wales’ position as a leading jurisdiction for dealing with this type of action. See our recent briefing for details.
  • Giving evidence to the House of Lords Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud Committee inquiry, the Director of Economic Crime at the Home Office referred to the growing threat of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and the plan to introduce legislation on the ability to seize crypto assets using civil recovery powers (at the moment the ability is limited to criminal powers).
  • The Competition and Markets Authority published a blog post on the final Privacy Sandbox commitments secured from Google. It says this is an ideal opportunity to test the way it wants the new Digital Markets Unit to run and is keen to engage with tech firms and consumers on an ongoing basis.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office published new guidance covering the processing of personal data by video surveillance systems by public and private sector organisations. Organisations using surveillance systems that process the personal data of identifiable individuals need to comply with the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.

…and in other news

  • In light of the escalating crisis in Ukraine, the National Cyber Security Centre continues to call upon organisations in the UK to bolster their online defences. You can read its latest guidance here.
  • A finance expert told BBC News that the war in Ukraine could become the first meaningful “crypto conflict”.
  • A recent article described the experience of making a purchase via an NFT vending machine. The vending machine dispenses “colours” – that is, a unique NFT representing a particular colour – for $5.99 each, though it was unclear what function they would provide.
  • The UK and Singapore signed a new innovative digital trade deal. The two countries also agreed to revitalise the existing FinTech Bridge, a move that will support innovative financial services and strengthen cooperation on emerging technologies.
  • One year on from the publication of the Kalifa Review of UK FinTech, over 70 CEOs and founders of FinTechs of all sizes and covering a wide range of sectors came together to welcome strong progress and call for further action.
  • The Artificial Intelligence Public-Private Forum launched by the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority published its final report, with the ultimate aim of advancing the collective understanding and promoting further discussions among academics, practitioners and regulators to support the safe adoption of AI in financial services.
  • Fitbit was forced to undertake a large-scale recall of its Ionic smartwatch following reports of an overheating battery and potential burn injuries for users. It is suggested that up to 1.7 million devices may need to be returned.
  • And finally, in yet another example of an innovative football and technology partnership, Manchester City FC is set to become the first Premier League club to enter the metaverse, as a result of a three year deal with tech giants Sony that will see the club build a virtual Etihad Stadium. Watch out for our upcoming briefing.

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