Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to be reviewed, Home Office seeks views on tackling unauthorised access to online accounts and personal data, CMA publishes terms of reference for DRCF, and more in this week's round-up of UK and EU techlaw news developments not covered elsewhere on the SCL website.
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to be reviewed
The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill was scheduled to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 5 September 2022, but the Bill has been pulled so that it can receive further review by the new government. In addition, The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing which covers what the Bill intends to do with the UK's data protection framework, digital verification services, and customer and business data, and provides further information about digital information and the regulation of the Bill.
Home Office seeks views on tackling unauthorised access to online accounts and personal data
The Home Office has opened a call for evidence about how it should deal with offences such as unauthorised access to online accounts and personal data under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The consultation aims to find ways to mitigate the burden of responsibility upon individuals for cybersecurity and associated offences. The Home Office seeks views on the following areas: the risks associated with unauthorised access to UK citizens' online account and personal data; actions that are currently taken to address the problem; and actions that should be taken to address the problem and where responsibilities for taking that action should lie. The consultation ends on 27 October 2022.
CMA publishes terms for reference for DRCF
The CMA has published the terms of reference for the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum, which comprises the CMA, the ICO, the FCA and Ofcom. The aim of the DRCF is to collectively drive greater regulatory cooperation and deliver coherent approaches to digital regulation.
Supreme Court will not hear RT appeal against Ofcom decisions on impartiality failings
The Supreme Court has confirmed it will not hear an appeal from RT against Ofcom's decisions finding serious and repeated breaches by RT of the UK broadcasting rules. In 2019, Ofcom fined RT £200,000 after it found in 2018 it repeatedly failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affair programmes broadcast in March and April 2018. These programmes were mostly related to major matters of political controversy and public policy, such as the UK government's response to the 2018 Salisbury poisonings, and conflict in Syria. RT challenged Ofcom's decisions in the High Court and the Court of Appeal and both courts rejected RT's challenges on all grounds. RT sough permission to bring an appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court has confirmed that it has refused RT's request.
Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 (Commencement) Regulations 2022 made
The Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 (Commencement) Regulations 2022 SI 2022/931 have been made. The Regulations bring into force those provisions of the Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021 which are not already in force. Certain provisions were brought into force on Royal Assent under section 28(1) of the Act.
Electronic Communications (Universal Service) (Amendment) Order 2022 made
The Electronic Communications (Universal Service) (Amendment) Order 2022 SI 2022/937 has been made. It made amendments to the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Order 2003, SI 2003/1904, to remove the requirement that the publicly available telephone services that a universal service provider must provide, where reasonably requested by an end-user, must be capable of allowing end-users to make and receive facisimile. The Order comes into force on 1 October 2022.
Halfords fined for sending nearly 500,000 unwanted marketing emails
The ICO has fined Halfords Limited £30,000 for sending 498,179 unsolicited marketing emails to people without their consent. The ICO investigated following complains in relation to a direct marketing email about a "Fix Your Bike" government voucher scheme, which was sent on 28 July 2020. The government scheme allowed people to use a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing a bicycle in any approved retailers or mechanics in England. However, Halfords' marketing email encouraged people to book a free bike assessment and to redeem the voucher at their chosen Halfords store. This amounted to marketing its services which would generate income for the company. The ICO investigation found that the Halfords' email message clearly advertised a service provided by the company, and that Halfords could not rely on legitimate interest to send the marketing email, as it claimed. Legitimate interest cannot be used as an alternative to consent when sending electronic marketing messages. However, the soft opt-in exemption allows organisations to send electronic marketing messages to customers whose details have been obtained during a sale or negotiations for similar services, but it must offer a simple way for people to opt out. The ICO ruled that Halfords could not rely on the soft opt-in exemption for customers that received the email, as they had already not opted in to receive emails from the company.
CMA opens consultation on ITV's proposal to alter advertising airtime
Earlier this year, the CMA consulted on a proposal from ITV to amend a number of its time length factors used as part of the calculation of the cost of advertisements on ITV1. The CMA received one response to its consultation from ISBA. The CMA's provisional decision is to accept ITV's proposal as it does not consider that this will have an adverse effect on competition or consumers. The CMA is now consulting on its provisional decision to accept the proposal until 20 September 2022.