Laurence Eastham explains why he broke his own rules, reviews the latest issue and warns of a coming reckoning
GDPR and all that
This issue includes the longest article I have ever published in one hit. It seemed to me that Rosemary Jay’s piece on adequacy post-Brexit would have been inadequately served if I had chopped it down to meet my maximum word count. Since it addresses a question that many tech lawyers (and not just data protection specialists – and not just UK-based lawyers either) need to consider, it would have been mad to don my jobsworth uniform and cut it to the bone, especially as I thought it would make it harder to read. But, lest any eager authors see this as a chink in the wall, I should point out that my 3,500 word max still applies and that the jobsworth uniform remains handy.
Rosemary’s article is just one article in a run of GDPR-focused pieces. Given the complexity of the GDPR, the added intricacy that comes from the Data Protection Bill, the potential for interplay with ePrivacy and the ongoing publication of guidance from the ICO and the Article 29 Working Party, I don’t expect the pages of the magazine to ignore data protection for the foreseeable future. Just as I have occasional batches of boredom about Trump and Brexit and decide to refuse to even contemplate the latest stupidities, I spend many days ‘deciding’ to switch attention away from the GDPR and its hangers-on only to switch back to full-on fascination with the latest wrinkle before the sun sets.
In fact, as I have said before, I am still looking for more articles on data protection, especially focused pieces on aspects of the GDPR and the new Bill.
The issue may be dominated by data protection articles but many other topics are covered. I want to draw your attention to two of them.
First, please take a look at Kathy Harford’s report of the latest developments in the SCL Better Contracts Initiative (p 3). Getting a wide range of views is crucial to the success of the project on resolving IT/tech disputes and SCL members are uniquely well placed to contribute. Don’t feel the need to keep the Initiative a secret – spread it around and encourage others in your firm or chambers to contribute too.
Secondly, though an editor really shouldn’t have favourite articles, this time around I do. Paul Berwin’s piece on escrow in a SaaS environment (p 31) focuses on a real problem, offers a solution and looks for input. If I was writing the brief for the sort of article I would like to see from the more senior tech lawyers, I would be exhibiting Paul’s article as an example. Some reader practitioners will have found that their annual membership is repaid many times over from this short article. I would love to get more like that. As far as I know, Paul hasn’t had much in the way of reaction so do engage on the issues if you can.
Predictions: the reckoning
Boots was selling ‘festive fare’ this week and, as I filled my basket with turkey and cranberry sandwiches with ‘Merry Christmas’ written on (in readiness for the big day), I realised that if Christmas is coming then the New Year cannot be far behind. And, of course, that means that it will soon be time for me to send out my annual invitations to submit predictions for developments in tech, tech law and law tech in 2018. You don’t have to await an invitation – you can weigh in any time from 15 November onwards.
This year’s slight twist, albeit edging towards a Chinese burn, is that selected former contributors will be asked to comment on past predictions they have made. I have yet to fully research those past predictions and am confident that they will show SCL members to be clear-eyed and prescient to the point where it is downright spooky. But some of you may want to make plans to run and hide while there is still time.