This week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

July 25, 2019

Contractual terms and privacy policies: how to improve consumer understanding

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a guide on contractual terms and privacy policies. The guide examines techniques for improving consumers’ understanding of contractual terms, conditions and privacy policies. The focus is on methods offering low-cost, practical and scalable solutions. The guidance draws on new research and includes a review of the existing academic literature. Full results and methodology are available in the technical report.  

ICO fines estate agency £80,000 for failing to keep tenants’ data safe

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined an estate agency £80,000 for leaving 18,610 customers’ personal data exposed. The security breach happened when the agency transferred personal data from its server to a partner organisation and failed to switch off an ‘anonymous authentication’ function. This failure meant access restrictions were not implemented and allowed anyone going online to have full access to all the data stored between March 2015 and February 2017. The exposed details included personal data such as bank statements, salary details, copies of passports, dates of birth and addresses of both tenants and landlords.  During its investigation, the ICO uncovered a catalogue of security errors and found that the agency had failed to take appropriate technical and organisational measures against the unlawful processing of personal data. In addition, the agency only alerted the ICO to the breach when it was contacted by a hacker. The ICO concluded this was a serious contravention of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Ofcom issues report on news consumption in the UK

Ofcom has released a report which is part of a long-running series of yearly reports designed to inform ‘an understanding of news consumption across the UK’. The main findings include that TV remains the most-used platform among UK adults for news (75%), despite an overall decrease in use since last year (79%).  At the same time, use of social media has gone up, with nearly half (49%) of all adults saying they use it for news (versus 44% last year). The proportion who use social media for news, and the specific types of social media sites, vary by demographic group.

CAA updates guidance on drones following amendments to regulations

The CAA has published a new edition of its guidance on drones. The update follows amendments to the Air Navigation Order and splits the content into three separate documents, covering guidance and policy, operating safety cases and national qualified entity.

European Commission issued updated guidance on .eu domains after Brexit

The European Commission has issued an updated notice to stakeholders concerning the .eu domain names registered by UK residents. The note replaces the one issued in March 2019 and clarifies the rules which will apply to the .eu domain names that are registered to UK residents after the UK leaves the EU. Undertakings and organisations that are based in the UK but not in the EU will not be eligible to register or renew .eu domain names. This will also apply to third country nationals residing in the UK. When the UK leaves the EU, ineligible domain names may be revoked by the Registry for .eu.

European Commission consults on investment in Europe’s digital economy

The European Commission has launched a consultation on the orientation of the first two years of its proposed Digital Europe programme. In the period 2021-2027, the programme will invest in digital technologies with the potential to make a difference to European citizens and businesses. The consultation ends on 25 October 2019.

European Parliament issues briefing on AI

The European Parliament has issued a briefing on the economic impact of AI. It says that AI plays an increasingly important role in our lives and economy and is already having an impact on our world in many different ways. Worldwide competition to reap its benefits is fierce. AI is seen by many as an engine of productivity and economic growth. It can increase the efficiency with which things are done and vastly improve the decision-making process by analysing large amounts of data. It can also cause the creation of new products and services, markets and industries, thereby boosting consumer demand and generating new revenue streams. However, AI may also have a highly disruptive effect on the economy and society. The EU has a potential to improve its standing in global competition and direct AI onto a path that benefits its economy and citizens. In order to achieve this, it first needs to agree a common strategy that would utilise its strengths and enable the pooling of Member States’ resources in the most effective way.

UK government to introduce requirement for non-UK based digital service providers

The UK government consulted earlier in 2019 on proposals to introduce a requirement for non-UK based digital service providers offering services in the UK to comply with the NIS Regulations SI 2018/506 after the UK leaves the EU. The responses were used to inform the development of the government’s approach. The proposed requirement will be introduced through an amendment to the NIS Regulations, which will come into effect the twentieth day after exit day. Digital service providers nominating a representative in the UK will have to comply the NIS Regulations.