Book Reviews: Binding Corporate Rules and The No-nonsense Guide to Legal Issues in Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing

August 26, 2012

Binding Corporate Rules

The sub-title of this book by Lokke Moerel is ‘Corporate Self-Regulation of Global Data Transfers’. It is, as you might well expect from an author with one foot in the academic world and one foot in legal practice, a defensible academic analysis of these rules combined with a practical focus and recommendations for improvement.

Lokke Moerel has been involved with Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) since before they existed; she worked with the then Dutch Data Protection Commissioner in discussions which led to the creation of template BCRs. It is no surprise then that she can provide such a comprehensive review of all aspects of BCRs nor is it a shock to discover that she sees them as the lead mainstream global solution to the problem of regulating corporate conduct in the area of data protection. An acceleratuion in the acceptance of BCRs and an increase in their credibility will , the author’s view, enhance the protection afforded to individuals. But Lokke Moerel’s message is not so overwhelmingly evangelical as to overlook the need for improvements in the BCR regime. The book includes a number of solid suggestions for improvements in it which EU legislators would do well to note.

Two minor quibbles occur to me. First that the book is up to date to February 2012 and was published five months later; that is fine for the academic market but risks a great deal of data protection water flowing under the practitioner’s bridge. Secondly, there are times when the English does not really flow – understandable for a Dutch author perhaps but her publishers might have done better. But this is a leading text and could be a very useful addition for the data protection practitioner’s library and is a near necessity for academics with a data protection focus.

Binding Corporate Rules was published on 26 July by OUP with a list price of £95 (376 pp, ISBN 978-0-19-966291-3). See SCL members should be able to gain a 20% discount – details to follow.

The No-nonsense Guide to Legal Issues in Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing

Here’s a book from Charles Oppenheim that has an ambitious aim. It is intended as a guide to ‘the perplexed non-lawyer’ and yet attempts to cover the legal environment for electronic information and creation – areas that frequently leave even specialist lawyers perplexed. I suspect that the key to the Guide’s undoubted success is that Charles Oppenheim comes without a lawyer’s baggage but with decades of knowledge and experience.  

The Guide covers copyright and other intellectual property rights, data protection and privacy, freedom of information, defamation, cloud computing and liability. I am not sure that I am convinced that freedom of information belongs there at all but the other topics are dealt with well. The Guide’s special strength is copyright and other IPRs, where the example case studies are well selected and genuinely enlightening. The Guide includes short exercises, presumably intended to test understanding, and I quite like that idea too.

The back-cover blurb describes the Guide as ‘an essential toolkit for all information professionals … a practical introduction to the law on these topics for LIS [library and information science] students and academics’. That’s an understandable boast by the Guide’s publishers, Facet Publishing (the commercial publishing and bookselling arm of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), but it seems to me rather unambitious. Here is a book that is up-to-date (references include developments in May 2012) and accessible and I think it would be a valuable read for any non-lawyer with an interest or involvement in this area. You could do worse than give it to clients as it does a great job of explaining the basics – and yet still makes it clear that the whole area is a legal minefield so they will be even more grateful for your expertise.

In the light of the fact that the Guide’s useful sources do not list the SCL web site (surely some mistake), I give the Guide a grudging but emphatic recommendation. I rather wish I’d written it myself. 

The No-nonsense Guide to Legal Issues in Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing is published by Facet Publishing with a list price of £49.95 (134 pp, ISBN 978-1-85604-804-0). See