In Other News: This week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

October 17, 2019

BEREC issues four consultations relating to telecoms and internet

BEREC has issued four new consultations. The first relates to its updated net neutrality guidelines and ends on 28 November 2019. Further, BEREC is consulting on its project on identifying business requirements for the successful deployment of 5G in Europe, which also ends on 28 November 2019. In addition, BEREC is consulting on guidelines on Quality of Service Parameters which will be adopted by 21 June 2020. The consultation ends on 5 December 2019. Finally, it is consulting on its draft guidelines on geographical surveys of network deployments. The consultation ends on 21 November 2019.

BoE and FCA publish survey results on machine learning in UK financial services

The Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority have conducted a survey about machine learning (ML) in UK financial services. The key findings are that ML is increasingly being used in UK financial services, especially in the banking and insurance sectors. It is most commonly used in anti-money laundering and fraud detection as well as in customer-facing applications (eg customer services and marketing). It is also used in areas such as credit risk management, trade pricing and execution, as well as general insurance pricing and underwriting. Some firms say they need additional guidance on how to interpret current regulation but do not think regulation is a barrier. ML does not necessarily create new risks, but could amplify existing ones. Firms use a variety of safeguards to manage the risks associated with ML and validate ML applications before and after deployment. Firms mostly design and develop ML applications in-house, but sometimes rely on third-party providers for the underlying platforms and infrastructure, such as cloud computing. The majority of users apply their existing model risk management framework to ML applications. However, many highlight that these frameworks might need to evolve with increasing maturity and sophistication of ML techniques. The BoE and the FCA have announced plans to establish a public-private group to explore issues covered in the report.

NCA states that there have been 337 global arrests after takedown of dark web child abuse site

337 suspects have been arrested globally following a National Crime Agency investigation. A child abuse website was taken down by an international taskforce. The site was run from South Korea and contained more than 250,000 abusive videos, which had been downloaded more than a million times. The website monetised the sexual abuse of children and was one of the first to offer videos for sale using the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The NCA is seeing increases in severity, scale and complexity in child sex abuse offending, as well as offenders using the dark web and encryption to hide their activity and identifies.

Ofcom sets out measures for fairer prices for broadband customers

Ofcom has set out a range of measures to help ensure that out-of-contract broadband customers pay fairer prices, and that providers offer better protection to vulnerable customers.  Ofcom has been  concerned about some broadband customers who pay high prices when their introductory offer has ended, meaning they are ‘out of contract’. Many of these customers could save money by negotiating a new deal with their existing provider or switching to a new one. Ofcom has published a proposed guide on how firms can improve how they treat vulnerable customers. Its existing rules require all companies to support their vulnerable customers and treat them fairly. The UK’s biggest broadband companies have made a range of commitments, most of which come into force in March 2020. From February, broadband customers must also be told when their contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available. People who choose to stay with their provider without signing up to a new contract will be given details of their firm’s best deals every year. Ofcom is also exploring options for a special tariff for low income customers as well as to allow easier switching.

UK government publishes no deal guidance on the E-Commerce Directive, .eu domain names and on broadcasting and video-on-demand

The UK government has published guidance on the E-Commerce Directive for online service providers. It has also published updated guidance on .eu domain names, as well as on broadcasting and on video-on-demand. The latter guidance covers how the rules for broadcasters and providers of video on-demand services would change if the Brexit deal agreed this week is not implemented.