Techlaw News Round-up

June 6, 2019

New Consumer Advocate role announced for telecoms sector

The government has announced plans to create a new independent Consumer Advocate with the aims of enhancing consumer protection against unfair practices in the telecommunications sector. Legislation will be introduced to create the role, which will have the power to support consumers. This aims to ensure that they benefit from the right treatment from mobile, broadband, pay-TV, and landline providers. The DCMS will launch a consultation outlining further details over the summer, including options for creating the new advocate and how it could be funded.

UK broadband and phone firms sign Ofcom’s new fairness commitments

Ofcom has announced that the UK’s biggest providers of broadband, mobile, pay-TV and home phone services have signed a set of commitments about fairness for customers. The commitments are designed to put fairness at the heart of business and have been developed to enhance the way companies handle their customers. The participating providers include BT, EE, Giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, Post Office, Sky, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

ICO publishes future priorities in update on GDPR

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued an overview of its work on the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and future priorities for the year ahead. The update outlines the ICO’s work to meet the aims of its Information Rights Strategic Plans through supporting the public and organisations, enforcement and internal innovation. The update also sets out regulatory priorities in the year ahead. They are: cyber security, AI, big data and machine learning, freedom of information compliance, children’s privacy, data broking, the use of personal information in political campaigns, use of surveillance and facial recognition technology and web and cross-device tracking for marketing purposes.

Report highlights importance of context in explaining AI decisions

The ICO has also published its Project Explain interim report, considering practical guidance for organisations to help them explain AI decisions to the individuals affected. The report has been prepared by the ICO in cooperation with the Alan Turing Institute. It is based on research, including citizens’ juries and industry round-tables, to gather views from a variety of sources interested in the AI-based decision-making process. The ICO will use the report to draft guidance for organisations using AI-based decision-making processes. It plans to consult on the guidance in summer of 2019 and finalise it in the autumn of 2019.

Intra-EU Communications (EU Regulation) Regulations 2019 made

The Intra-EU Communications (EU Regulation) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/980 have been made to implement into UK legislation the requirements of Article 50 of EU Regulation (EU) 2018/1971 which amends EU Regulation (EU) 2015/2120. Article 50 of Regulation (EU) 2018/1971 introduced caps on retail charges for regulated intra-EU communications by inserting Article 5a into Regulation (EU) 2015/2120. It comes into force on 30 June 2019.

EU publishes brochure on EU’s cybersecurity policy and research activities

The European Commission has published a brochure on the EU’s main cybersecurity policy and research activities. The digital era is creating numerous new opportunities for the economy and society. But, at the same time, it introduces new challenges. Cyber-incidents and cyber-attacks cause the loss of billions of euros every year. Cybersecurity, trust and privacy are the foundations of a prosperous European Digital Single Market. The brochure describes the measures to shield the European Digital Single Market and protect infrastructure, governments, businesses and citizens.

Court service extends digital reform programme and announced 2019 goals announced

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service has announced that it is extending its digital reform programme to 2023. It has also set out its goals for the end of 2019. Its latest newsletter also provides a summary of progress regarding civil money claims online, rollout of the Common Platform, and civil enforcement.