Techlaw News Round-Up

July 4, 2019

Tackling fraud in government with data analytics
The Cabinet Office is consulting on its approach to the challenges of using data and analytics to counter fraud in the public sector. The consultation is based on a report published by the Cabinet Office. The report summarises the key challenges in employing data analysis and data sharing to counter fraud. 

ICO issues response to Online Harms White Paper
The ICO has issued its response to the UK government’s Online Harms White Paper. It says the impact of online harms is of significant public concern. Regulation that makes a real difference is essential, but it must remain proportionate so that people can enjoy the benefits of the internet. How to regulate harms on the internet is complex and challenging. It requires innovative solutions to balance competing rights in a democratic society. The full breadth of internet harms must be considered at an individual and societal level. This includes electoral interference and greater transparency in online advertising. Data protection regulation is part of regulating the internet and should not be positioned separately. It is the personalisation of data that is driving the delivery of content online. Given the need to act swiftly, it makes sense for an existing regulator who already has experience of content regulation to take on the new regulatory role outlined in the White Paper. This should be accompanied by a strategic coordinated approach to regulation, chaired by the regulator with responsibility for online harms but involving all the key regulators involved in internet regulation. The proposed duty of care is an important part of the solution, but it will need to be backed by appropriate sanctions and powers.

House of Lords Committee chair issues response on CMA’s market study on online platforms
The Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has responded to the CMA’s market study on online platforms and digital advertising. He welcomes the study as well as the CMA’s new digital market strategy. He pointed out that the Committee called for a study in its reports ‘UK advertising in a digital age’ and ‘Regulating in a digital world’. It found that the market for delivering digital advertising to consumers is dominated by a small number of very large companies but is poorly understood and opaque. The market study should highlight the inner workings of the market and help the UK advertising industry regain the trust of the public. More broadly the Committee believes that digital markets pose significant challenges to competition regulators. Market power on the internet is concentrated in a small number of companies. These online platforms have significant market shares and buy start-up companies before they can become competitive. Their size means they can cross-subsidise services across markets to make them free to users. This challenges the traditional understanding of the consumer welfare standard. Competition regulators have struggled to keep pace with fast-changing digital markets. He hopes that the CMA’s digital markets strategy will be an important step in addressing these issues.

Former company director fined after selling personal data illegally
A former company director has been found guilty of illegally obtaining people’s personal data and selling it to solicitors chasing personal injury claims. He has been fined for breaches of data protection and issued with a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. He was fined £1,050 and ordered to pay £250 costs. He was disqualified from being a company director for five years and an order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of items which were seized as part of a search warrant in 2012. Following sentencing, confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 commenced. He pleaded guilty to 21 charges of unlawfully obtaining and selling personal data in breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.