This week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

November 17, 2019

ASA upholds complaint about targeting of online advertising

The ASA has upheld a complaint this week relating to an advertisement which appeared on a children’s TV channel for Popjam, a social media site for 7-12 year olds. The complainant was concerned that the advertisement’s encouragement to “get likes and followers to level up” could be detrimental to children’s mental health and affect their self-esteem. They challenged whether the ad could cause harm to those under 18 years of age and was irresponsible. The ASA considered that the advertisement explicitly encouraged children to seek likes and followers to progress through the app. It also said that the suggestion that the acquisition of likes and followers was the only means of progression was likely to give children the impression that popularity on social media was something that should be pursued because it was desirable in its own right. The ASA was therefore concerned that the ad’s encouragement to gain likes and followers could cause children to develop an unhealthy perception that popularity on social media was inherently valuable which was likely to be detrimental to their mental health and self-esteem. Therefore, the advert was irresponsible and likely to cause harm to those under.

European Commission consults on compliance guidelines for platform to business regulation

The new Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on platform-to-business relations requires online intermediation services, such as e-commerce marketplaces, app stores, online travel agents, to set out in their terms and conditions the main parameters determining ranking and the reasons for their relative importance. A similar obligation applies to online search engines. The European Commission plans to produce guidelines to help online intermediation services and online search engines understand this obligation, before it starts to apply on 12 July 2020. It is consulting on feedback and suggestions on the broad objectives of the guidelines and for possible sectoral specificities, illustrative examples, industry best practices and future trends. The consultation ends on 12 December 2019.

European Data Protection Board meets for fifteenth plenary session

The European Data Protection Board has met for its fifteenth plenary session, where a variety of topics were discussed. It adopted its report on the third Annual Joint Review of the EU-US Privacy Shield, a final version of the Guidelines on Territorial Scope, Guidelines on Data Protection by Design & Default and its opinion on the draft decision regarding ExxonMobil’s Binding Corporate Rules. It also adopted its response to the European Parliament’s committee for Civil Liberties’ request for a legal assessment on the European Commission’s proposals for the Regulation establishing the conditions for accessing the other EU information systems and the Regulation establishing the conditions for accessing other EU information systems for ETIAS purposes.  Finally, it has adopted a contribution to the draft second additional protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, to be considered within the framework of consultations held by the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention Committee. The other documents will be published in due course.

Legal statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts imminent, says the Chancellor of the High Court

The Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos, has urged lawyers to think imaginatively about the world in which the commercial legal services of the future will be required. He was giving the annual lecture for the Commercial Bar Association on ‘Future Proofing for Commercial Lawyers in an Unpredictable World’. Touching on the impact of climate change, big data and technological innovation on commercial life, he outlined some of the changes he foresaw to the type of issues likely to be the subject of litigation and reiterated the adaptability of the English common law to those new commercial situations. He also said that the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce, which is part of the LawTech Delivery Panel, is about to publish a legal statement providing definitive guidance as to the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts under English law.

Separately, Lord Sales has given a speech in which he said the growing role of algorithms and artificial intelligence poses significant legal problems, in particular around the fundamental concept of agency. He called for the regulation of algorithms.

News in depth

In case you missed them, links below to other news published this week