This week’s techlaw news snippets

March 28, 2019

Ofcom publishes annual plan 2019/20

Ofcom has published its plan of work for the next financial year. This follows a consultation period on the proposed plans. They include improving broadband and mobile across the UK, supporting research into, and raising awareness of, online harms, working with communications companies to help create stronger networks and minimise cyberattacks and reducing nuisance calls. The plan also explains how Ofcom has considered the government’s draft statement of its strategic priorities for telecommunications.  The report also covers Ofcom’s planned work in broadcasting.

ICO publishes report on adtech forum

The ICO held an adtech forum on 6 March, designed to help the ICO better understand the key data protection issues around adtech, and in particular around Real Time Bidding (RTB) in programmatic advertising, by listening to stakeholders’ ideas, concerns and challenges. The forum covered the themes of transparency, lawful basis and security. The ICO has now published a report on the forum. 

ICO fines pensions company £40,000 for sending spam emails

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a monetary penalty to a pensions company for sending nearly two million spam emails. Grove Pension Solutions Ltd was fined £40,000 for sending 1,942,010 direct marketing emails promoting its services, without consent. The ICO found that Grove Pensions Solutions Ltd had instructed a marketing agent to use third party email providers to carry out hosted marketing campaigns that advertised the company’s services. The company had sought specialist advice from a data protection consultancy as well as independent legal advice about the use of hosted marketing. However, the advice proved to be inaccurate and the ICO found that the marketing activity fell foul of the regulations.

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

The European Commission has recommended a set of operational steps and measures to ensure a high level of cybersecurity of 5G networks across the EU. The recommendations are a combination of legislative and policy instruments meant to protect EU economies, societies and democratic systems. The recommendation states that with worldwide 5G revenues estimated at €225 billion in 2025, 5G is a key asset for Europe to compete in the global market and its cybersecurity is crucial for ensuring the strategic autonomy of the EU.

Committee of Standards in Public Life to review AI and standards of conduct

The Committee of Standards in Public Life has announced a review into existing frameworks and regulations on artificial intelligence. The review will consider if the existing frameworks and regulations are sufficient to ensure that high standards of conduct are upheld as technologically assisted decision-making is adopted more widely across the public sector. The Committee expects to publish its report in 2020.

EU Parliament and Council agree cross-border digital broadcast rules

The European Parliament and Council have agreed on new rules for online broadcasting of current affairs and radio programmes across Europe. The rules include mechanisms for facilitating the clearance of copyright and related rights of radio and TV content. The aims are to increase distribution of news and current affairs programmes and promote access to information. To come into force, the draft legislation must be formally endorsed by the Council of the European Union, the Legal Affairs Committee and the Parliament in plenary.