Age Appropriate Design Code, Digital Economy and Society Index, ASA/IAB scam ad alert system and more in this week’s round-up of techlaw news from the past week.
Age Appropriate Design Code is laid before Parliament
The ICO’s Age Appropriate Design Code has been laid before the UK parliament. The ICO said: “we welcome the news that Government has laid the Age Appropriate Design Code before Parliament. It’s a huge step towards protecting children online especially given the increased reliance on online services at home during COVID-19. The code sets out 15 standards that relevant online services should meet to protect children’s privacy and is the result of wide-ranging consultation and engagement with stakeholders including the tech industry, campaigners, trade bodies and organisations. We are now pulling together our existing work on the benefits and the costs of the code to assess its impact. This will inform the discussions we have with businesses to help us develop a package of support to help them implement the code during the transition year.”
European Commission publishes 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index
he European Commission has released the results of the 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which monitors Europe's overall digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries with respect to their digital competitiveness. This year's DESI shows that there is progress in all key areas measured in the index. It also shows that EU member states should step up their efforts to improve the coverage of Very High Capacity Networks, assign 5G spectrum to enable the commercial launch of 5G services, improve citizens' digital skills and further digitise businesses and the public sector. The DESI tracks the progress made in five principal policy areas, namely connectivity, digital skills, internet usage by individuals, integration of digital technologies by businesses and digital public services.
ASA and IAB launch scam ad alert system
The Advertising Standards Authority and the Internet Advertising Bureau have launched a UK Scam Ad Alert system in partnership with the major digital advertising and social media platforms, including Facebook and Google, to help deal with scam advertising. The scheme has been trialled for three months. The new system will help get online paid-for scam ads taken down across multiple platforms. The Scam Ad Alert trial responded to ongoing concerns about online paid-for ads linking to fraudulent content, particularly crypto investment, such as Bitcoin, scams. Many scam ads of this type use false stories or doctored images of celebrities, and imply those celebrities have endorsed the service in a misleading way. Online scam ads and websites cause significant financial harm to some consumers, as well as damaging to the reputation of the online ad industry as a whole. The Financial Conduct Authority and Action Fraud warned that in 2018/19 victims of crypto and forex investment scams had lost over £27 million in total. Consumers can now report scam ads appearing in paid-for space online to the ASA, which will then send an alert to all participating platforms with key details of the scam ad, as well as to publishers when the ad appeared on a publisher owned site. If they locate them, partners will remove the offending ad and suspend the advertiser's account. In some instances they may also add them to blocklists, even when the ads were not appearing on their platform, stopping them from appearing in future.
OECD to host Secretariat of new Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence
The OECD will host the Secretariat of the new Global Partnership on AI. It aims at ensuring that AI is used responsibly, respecting human rights and democratic values. It will bring together experts to conduct research and pilot projects on AI. Its objective is to bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI policy. An example would be looking at how AI could help societies respond to and recover from the Covid-19 crisis. The OECD also operates an online platform – the OECD AI Policy Observatory, where all players in the AI sphere can share insights and collaborate on shaping AI-related policy.
EDPB responds to questions about data access agreement between the US and UK
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has responded to a letter from members of the European Parliament about a data access agreement between the UK and US. The agreement covers access to electronic data for countering serious crime. The EDPB doubts if the safeguards in the agreement for access to personal data in the UK would apply in case of disclosure obligations applicable to providers of electronic communication service or remote computing services under US jurisdiction (regardless of whether the data requested is located within or outside of the US). It is also not clear whether whether the safeguards in the agreement would apply to all, if any, requests for access made under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (US CLOUD Act). Further, safeguards should include a mandatory prior judicial authorisation as an essential guarantee for access to metadata and content data; and any similar future agreement between the EU and the US must prevail over US domestic laws and include appropriate data protection safeguards to be fully compatible with EU primary and secondary law. Finally the EDPB notes that when it comes to a possible adequacy decision for the UK, the EDPB considers that the agreement will have to be taken into account by the European Commission in its overall assessment of the level of protection of personal data in the UK, especially regarding the requirement to ensure continuity of protection in case of 'onward transfers' from the UK to another third country.
BEREC issues Guidelines on the Implementation of the Open Internet Regulation and various consultations
BEREC have issued net neutrality guidelines. They include the obligations to closely monitor and ensure compliance with the rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-users’ rights. Separately, BEREC has also issued a consultation about draft guidelines for co-investment criteria, which ends on 4 September 2020. It has also issued a consultation on 5G Radar which ends on 31 July 2020. Finally, it is consulting about draft guidelines on the criteria for a consistent application of Article 61(3) Directive (EU) 2018/1972 (the European Electronic Communications Code) until 31 July 2020.
UK government issues geospatial strategy
The UK government has issued its geospatial strategy which sets out goals for using location data: the creation of a national framework to boost economic, social and environmental value; and that location data improves people’s lives and drives innovation by connecting people, organisations and services. Location/geospatial data is used across sectors as diverse as infrastructure, housing and retail. The strategy sets out the first steps that the Geospatial Commission and its partners will carry out across four areas. This includes the next phase of the National Underground Asset Programme which looks to digital map pipes and cables underground, publishing guidance for the ethical use of location data and technology and the piloting of an International Geospatial Service in 2021 to showcase and export UK geospatial expertise across the world. These activities aim to drive innovation and boost the economy across the UK over the coming years.