This Weeks Techlaw News Round-Up

April 16, 2020

ICO publishes guidance on video conferencing

Ian Hulme, the ICO’s Director of Assurance, has published a blog post giving business owners, employers and managers advice about how to safely roll out the latest video conferencing technology. The guidance covers privacy and security settings, phishing risks, the importance of complying with your own organisation’s policy, ensuring software is up to date and reconsidering the right tools for the job at a later stage, as decisions are being take quickly at present and may need revisiting.

ICANN publishes blog post on Relief for Registrants in Response to COVID-19

ICANN has published a blog post on covid-19. It will be invoking section of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement due to ‘extenuating circumstances’ caused by coronavirus. ‘Extenuating circumstances’ under that section means that registrars are permitted to refrain from cancelling domain name registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of the outbreak. ICANN commits to continue evaluating additional methods of supporting registrants, contracted parties, and the community.

EURid issues statement on COVID-19 and extraordinary measures on .eu domain names

To protect end-users from possible misuses of domain names associated with the current COVID-19 emergency, EURid has implemented a set of measures in agreement with the European Commission. It has amended its systems to prevent the registration of suspicious domain names. It will be performing additional checks on the registration data of both existing registrations and newly-registered domain names that contain keywords relating to the current pandemic. Registrants of domain names containing detected keywords will be required to validate their data and to submit a statement confirming that their domain name was registered in ‘good faith’ within seven calendar days. These measures will be in place until the end of Q2 2020 with the possibility of extension, subject to quarterly reviews by EURid and the European Commission.

UK government launches new dialogue with the public about data for public benefit

The UK government has launched a project to explore how people weigh up the benefits and disadvantages of health and social care data sharing for research. The aim of the project is to improve understanding of how the public assesses and weighs the public benefits and disbenefits of proposed data uses in a range of scenarios. The public will be asked which benefits count as ‘good enough’ to make the use of data acceptable in their view. The government wants to explore the use of social care data as well as health data. The National Data Guardian intends to develop guidance or advice that would help organisations to carry out public benefit assessments with greater consistency across the health and social care sector. This aims to help a range of bodies and data controllers to make decisions about whether data should be used for purposes beyond individual care.

Science and Technology Committee launches inquiry on 5G

In January 2020, the UK government announced that it would allow Huawei and other “high risk vendors” to supply “non-sensitive” elements of the UK’s 5G telecommunications networks, despite security concerns. The issue highlighted the UK’s lack of domestic capability to supply these networks. In this context, the Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry to understand how telecommunications capacity can be built in the UK. Specifically, the Committee would like to hear evidence on: what led to the current lack of market competition among telecommunications equipment suppliers and the absence of a domestic supplier in the UK; what are the major barriers to entry into the UK telecommunications market are and how these could be overcome; the feasibility of the government supporting the establishment and growth of a UK-based vendor of 5G equipment; how the UK can work with international partners (such as the ‘Five Eyes’ countries) to build a domestic capacity; measures the UK government could take to encourage additional, established vendors to enter the UK market; and in what time-frame the government should look to build domestic capacity and remove all “high risk” vendors. Submissions should be sent to the Committee by Tuesday 30 June.

European Commission seeks views on review and extension of roaming rules

In June 2017, EU legislation ended roaming charges for users of mobile devices in the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. However, market conditions do not yet appear to guarantee that this scheme can continue without regulatory intervention, so the rules need to be extended beyond their current expiry date of 30 June 2022. This initiative will extend the Roaming Regulation and examine options for ensuring the scheme continues to run effectively. The Commission seeks views until 7 May 2020.

EDPB adopts letter on apps supporting fight against coronavirus

The European Data Protection Board has adopted a letter concerning the European Commission’s draft guidance on apps supporting the fight against the coronavirus. The guidance on data protection and privacy implications complements the Commission’s Recommendation on apps for contact tracing which set out the process towards a common EU toolbox for the use of technology and data to combat and exit from the coronavirus crisis.