April 26, 2017

This issue is dominated by articles about the
edgier tech law topics, with Neil Brown’s piece on Sextech being the big online
hit of the last few months (no surprise there, but I suspect we may have had
some disappointed online visitors) and delebs and algorithms causing plenty of
interest too. But even though those ‘edgy’ topics are threatening to become
mainstream, they are by no means bread and butter topics for most tech lawyers,
so we have case reports and articles on contracts and other more prosaic aspects
of IT law. What we don’t have is articles on Brexit and the GDPR.

Bread, butter and the GDPR

It is just over a year before GDPR deadline day. I
don’t suppose many SCL members are panicking but I am pretty sure that you know
people who are, and even more people who should be panicking but are imitating
Nelson at Copenhagen.

Panic or not, I think that it is time for this
magazine to turn its attentions back to the GDPR and I want to encourage real
experts to rip apart official guidance, fill in the blanks in the impending
rules and drill down through the detail in the multitude of data protection
issues covered by the EU legislation.

While I have been besieged with articles
saying, in effect, ‘businesses better get ready’, which is a message that I assume
our readers do not need to hear, I have been offered little new analysis since
our splurge on the subject when the GDPR was finally agreed.

The current consultation about derogations is a
handy indicator that the government is (in my view, belatedly) getting to grips
with the issues and there might be an opportunity to mould opinion even now. I
am disappointed that the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has not
moved sooner and think we should have had draft legislation by now but that is
water under the bridge.

If you have strong views – and DP debates tend
to engender the same strength of feeling as debates on a Saturday night-service
bus – I am interested in publishing opinion pieces as well as detailed

Brexit speculation

In the days and months following the referendum
I was inundated with offers of articles telling us what the referendum result
meant for tech lawyers, IT businesses, patent holders and Uncle Tom Cobley. I
published none of them because they all said the same thing: ‘it all depends
and it is too soon to say’, bar the odd one which, rather endearingly, seemed
to think I might not have noticed the result and wanted to update me on it.
What bliss such ignorance would be!

But, still slightly reluctantly, I think we are
now approaching the point where we can make some attempt to provide realistic
scenarios for a post-Brexit tech law landscape. If you have given a great deal
of thought to this and would like to contribute, do get in touch. If it is keeping
you awake at night, this might be an opportunity to offload. There is an
obvious link between the GDPR and Brexit and views on that link and the effect
of the Great Repeal Bill are welcome too.

Since I feel that almost all Brexit debates are
incredibly insular, I would particularly like to hear from tech lawyers outside
the UK as to how they expect Brexit to affect them and their relations with the
EU (if from outside it) and the UK.

I would ask that contributors try their best to
avoid comments that can be summarised as ‘we are all doomed’. I will probably
write that one myself.