Techlaw News Round-Up

September 5, 2019

Scottish government publishes Programme for Government 2019-2020

The Scottish government has published its Programme for Government 2019-2020. It sets out the actions that the Scottish government will take in the coming year and beyond, including regarding technology. The document points out that transport is undergoing a period of rapid technological transformation which provides opportunities for innovation. For example, it discusses developments in connected and autonomous vehicles and opportunities to offer high quality test and demonstrator opportunities to developers and industry. The government intends to publish a roadmap for adoption of these technologies before the end of 2019. It will also support an autonomous bus trial on trunk roads between Fife and Edinburgh starting in summer 2020, as well as supporting innovation on payment and journey planning.  Further, the government intends to intensify support and funding from enterprise agencies for research and development and innovation in low carbon technologies, processes, products and services. A further development is the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, a joint venture between Michelin, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise to deliver Scotland’s centre for driving innovation and investment in sustainable mobility and low carbon energy. It will provide business and industry with support packages containing a mix of grants, loans and incentives as well as competitive rates, space and expertise for innovation and prototypes. The Parc will also include an Advanced Skills Academy to help to develop the workforce of the future, delivering bespoke packages covering data, digital, creativity and innovation, as well as core technical skills.

Law Society blog on new frontiers in lawtech innovation and data protection

The Law Society has published a blog post by policy adviser Andrew McWhir on lawtech innovation and data protection. He discusses the fact that digital innovation relies on people handing over their personal data to companies. Properly respected and enforced data protection laws increase trust but, in the short term, enforcement action reveals unlawful and unethical processing that undermines public confidence. These include the prospect of significant GDPR penalties for data breaches – the ICO intends to fine Marriott International over £99m and British Airways over £183m.  Within the GDPR there are mechanisms for promoting innovation within a framework of trust. They are highly relevant to lawtech innovators and include the data protection impact assessment, data protection by design and by default; and adding ‘noise’. For example, if you are collecting personal data for statistical purposes you may be able to add ‘noise’ to that data in a way that retains its statistical value but which minimises the extent to which it can be traced back to a particular individual. The blog post highlights the importance of lawyers being involved in the early stages of an initiative.

FCA updates webpages on Strong Customer Authentication

The Financial Conduct Authority has updated its web pages about stronger customer authentication. From 14 September 2019, new rules apply under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 SI 2017/752. They affect the way banks or other payment services providers check that the person requesting access to their account or trying to make a payment is the person permitted to make a payment and validate specific payment instructions. The FCA agreed to give firms extra time to implement these rules in some circumstances and the revised webpages explain the FCA’s expectations.

ASA issues guidance about 5G advertising

The ASA has issued guidance about 5G advertising. 5G launched in the UK earlier this year and the ASA is already receiving complaints about 5G ads. Advertisers need to ensure that their promises are accurate, clear, and reflect the real experience that users will have. The ASA has previously issued guidance on broadband speed claims, which applies to claims for 5G speeds in the same way as superfast and 4G speeds before it. There is currently no set definition of speeds that customers can achieve with 5G, and non-numerical speed claims are treated on a case by case basis by the ASA. If the ASA receives a complaint about an ad for 5G it will consider the overall impression given, and consider what consumers are likely to expect from it. Where there are some factors which may cause a significant number of users to achieve speeds significantly lower than advertised, this should be stated in the ad in a way that consumers will understand. Advertisers must have evidence to support any objective claims they make, such as absolute claims about speed, coverage or performance. An absolute claim should only be made if the statement applies to all users all of the time. If an ad for 5G says that consumers will always achieve certain speeds and will never be affected by the number of other users nearby, then the advertiser must have evidence to demonstrate that that is the case. The ASA’s position on 5G claims will develop as they see more ads, investigate claims and build precedent through rulings.

viagogo fixes concerns in face of further CMA legal action

The CMA has announced that viagogo has now addressed the CMA’s outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to its customers. The CMA has therefore suspended preparations for court action in relation to those issues. However, it has not ruled out future action if the problems recur or if other issues are identified. In July 2017 the CMA put the ticket resale site on notice that it was moving forward with contempt of court action following repeated warnings that viagogo had not done enough to comply with a court order the CMA secured against it. viagogo has now addressed the outstanding concerns about how it presents information. In October 2019 a further independent review of viagogo’s compliance with the court order will be completed. If the results of this review, or any other fresh information, suggests the company is not meeting its obligations then the CMA will take further action.

New safety test facility opens for self-driving vehicles

A new self-driving vehicle test facility has been opened. The aim of this, and a new safety regime called CAV PASS, is to safely test and roll out self-driving vehicles. The UK government is developing an assurance system using expertise in vehicle safety and cyber security within government, industry and academia. This aims to ensure self-driving vehicles are safe and secure by design and minimise any defects ahead of their testing, sale and wider deployment on UK roads. The test facility includes 70km of secure test tracks, a private mobile network and a simulator suite. This will be part of a network of self-driving vehicle test facilities across the country. The new facility will allow developers to safely challenge systems and collect data, to help fine-tune software, sensors, 5G telecommunications and cyber security systems. This work builds on the code of practice for automated vehicle trials first launched by the UK in 2015 and updated this year.