Editorial October/November 2017

October 26, 2017

GDPR and all that

This issue includes the longest article I
have ever published in one hit. It seemed to me that Rosemary Jay’s piece on
adequacy post-Brexit would have been inadequately served if I had chopped it
down to meet my maximum word count. Since it addresses a question that many
tech lawyers (and not just data protection specialists – and not just UK-based
lawyers either) need to consider, it would have been mad to don my jobsworth
uniform and cut it to the bone, especially as I thought it would make it harder
to read. But, lest any eager authors see this as a chink in the wall, I should
point out that my 3,500 word max still applies and that the jobsworth uniform
remains handy.

Rosemary’s article is just one article in a
run of GDPR-focused pieces. Given the complexity of the GDPR, the added
intricacy that comes from the Data Protection Bill, the potential for interplay
with ePrivacy and the ongoing publication of guidance from the ICO and the
Article 29 Working Party, I don’t expect the pages of the magazine to ignore
data protection for the foreseeable future. Just as I have occasional batches
of boredom about Trump and Brexit and decide to refuse to even contemplate the
latest stupidities, I spend many days ‘deciding’ to switch attention away from
the GDPR and its hangers-on only to switch back to full-on fascination with the
latest wrinkle before the sun sets.

In fact, as I have said before, I am still
looking for more articles on data protection, especially focused pieces on
aspects of the GDPR and the new Bill.

Wider topics

The issue may be dominated by data
protection articles but many other topics are covered. I want to draw your
attention to two of them.

First, please take a look at Kathy
Harford’s report of the latest developments in the SCL Better Contracts
Initiative (p 3). Getting a wide range of views is crucial to the success of
the project on resolving IT/tech disputes and SCL members are uniquely well
placed to contribute. Don’t feel the need to keep the Initiative a secret –
spread it around and encourage others in your firm or chambers to contribute

Secondly, though an editor really shouldn’t
have favourite articles, this time around I do. Paul Berwin’s piece on escrow
in a SaaS environment (p 31) focuses on a real problem, offers a solution and
looks for input. If I was writing the brief for the sort of article I would
like to see from the more senior tech lawyers, I would be exhibiting Paul’s
article as an example. Some reader practitioners will have found that their
annual membership is repaid many times over from this short article. I would
love to get more like that. As far as I know, Paul hasn’t had much in the way
of reaction so do engage on the issues if you can.

Predictions: the reckoning

Boots was selling ‘festive fare’ this week
and, as I filled my basket with turkey and cranberry sandwiches with ‘Merry
Christmas’ written on (in readiness for the big day), I realised that if
Christmas is coming then the New Year cannot be far behind. And, of course,
that means that it will soon be time for me to send out my annual invitations
to submit predictions for developments in tech, tech law and law tech in 2018.
You don’t have to await an invitation – you can weigh in any time from 15
November onwards.

This year’s slight twist, albeit edging
towards a Chinese burn, is that selected former contributors will be asked to
comment on past predictions they have made. I have yet to fully research those
past predictions and am confident that they will show SCL members to be
clear-eyed and prescient to the point where it is downright spooky. But some of
you may want to make plans to run and hide while there is still time.