New guidance on remote evidence, cybersecurity, EPO report on 3D technologies, Update on US-Swiss Privacy Shield, ICO fine for pension calls, ICO innovation hub update, CJEU decision on Roaming Regulation and more in this week’s round-up of techlaw news from the past week.
Academy of Experts issues guidance on giving remote evidence
Due to coronavirus restrictions, there are likely to be many more remote and virtual hearings as courts, tribunals and other forms of dispute resolution adapt to new ways of working. Assisted by feedback on giving evidence remotely already provided to Academy of Experts by experts and some of the issues judges have recently been grappling with, the Judicial Committee of the Academy has issued guidance to experts. It considers issues such as technology, live-streaming, drop-outs and virtual evidence. The Judicial Committee is chaired by Lord Saville, a former Justice of the UK Supreme Court.
BEREC recommends an ex-ante regulatory framework for digital platforms with significant intermediation power
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications recommends adopting a dedicated ex-ante regulatory framework for digital platforms with significant intermediation power. It responded to the European Commission’s Digital Services Act and New Competition Tool consultations. It says such a framework should tackle specific concerns raised by digital platforms with significant intermediation power, to ensure that competition and innovation are encouraged, that end-users’ rights are protected and that the digital environment is open and competitive. Ex-ante asymmetric regulation, supported by an efficient regulatory toolbox, has already proven to be efficient to foster competition and contestability. Building on this, BEREC considers that its expertise can assist when designing an efficient, proportionate, and predictable scheme for intervention. Moreover, its cooperation framework can be considered as a well-functioning reference model, and BEREC and its member regulators are well placed to effectively take on active roles in the definition and implementation of this dedicated regulatory framework.
CJEU rules on automatic application of regulated roaming tariff
The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in the case of Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände - Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband eV v Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG (Case C-539/19). The case concerned a reference from a German Court on whether Article 6a and Article 6e(3) of the Roaming Regulation must be interpreted as meaning that the new regulated roaming tariff referred to in Article 6a of the Regulation applies automatically, with effect from 15 June 2017, not only to customers who already had a regulated roaming tariff, but also to customers who, until that date, had opted for another tariff. The CJEU ruled that it did, and so customers should be automatically transferred to the new tariff.
DCMS publishes summary of responses to the call for evidence on cyber security incentives & regulation review
The Cyber Security Incentives and Regulation Call for Evidence ran during 2019. The government has now published a summary of the main findings from the Call for Evidence, which included the identification of the following three significant barriers organisations report in managing their cyber risks: a range of inabilities that organisations may have, from not knowing what to do, to not having the right skills and resources; a lack of commercial rationale or business drivers that stimulate the prioritisation of and investment in cyber risk management; and a complex and insecure digital environment within which organisations base many business operations in this digital era. Respondents also highlighted the lack of incentives and insufficient regulation as reasons for inadequate preventative measures. The DCMS will be working with industry over the coming months to develop policy proposals which seek to address some of these barriers.
European Patent Office issues report on trends in 3D printing technologies
The European Patent Office has issued a study providing a comprehensive picture of current trends and emerging leaders in additive manufacturing (AM) technologies. AM technologies are a digital technology, and according to the EPO, are a driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 3D printed objects are the physical avatars of digital models that allow for highly sophisticated shapes or geometries. These models can be instantly diffused at virtually no cost, enabling the local fabrication of small volumes. They can also be modified, allowing in turn for the mass-customisation of 3D printed objects. AM has the potential to redesign entire industry value chains, and will oblige companies to rethink their distribution models and to adapt to new forms of competition, while facing the challenge of creating appropriate legal frameworks to safeguard competition. The study informs users of the patent system and policy-makers about AM’s impact on industry.
FDPIC considers CH-US Privacy Shield does not provide adequate level of data protection
Following his annual assessment of the Swiss-US Privacy Shield regime and the CJEU Schrems II ruling, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) has reassessed the data protection conformity of the Privacy Shield regime. He concludes that, although it guarantees special protection rights for persons in Switzerland, it does not provide an adequate level of protection for data transfer from Switzerland to the US under the Federal Act on Data Protection. As a result of this assessment, which is based on Swiss law, the FDPIC has deleted the reference to ‘adequate data protection under certain conditions’ for the US in the FDPIC’s list of countries.
ICO fines company £130,000 for unauthorised pensions cold calls
The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a monetary penalty notice of £130,000 to Swansea company CPS Advisory Ltd for making unauthorised direct marketing calls to people about their pensions. During its investigation, the ICO found that the company had made 106,987 calls to people without lawful authority. Under the 2019 amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, companies can only make live calls to people about their occupational or personal pensions if the caller is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or is the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme, and the recipient of the call consents to calls, or has an existing relationship with the caller. The aim of the laws was to prevent people from falling victim to scams, most of which are carried out through nuisance calls, and potentially losing their pensions.
ICO issues Innovation Hub project report 2020
In November 2018 the ICO set up the Regulators’ Business Innovation Privacy Hub (the Innovation Hub). The Innovation Hub was set up to collaborate with other regulators, offering data protection expertise to a greater breadth of innovative businesses. The ICO has now published a project report, reflecting on the Innovation Hub's activities. It has also published a blog post with top tips for innovators.
Ofcom consults on changes to broadcast licence conditions
Ofcom has issued a consultation on its proposals to make to the conditions included in television, radio and multiplex broadcast licences issued under the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 and provides licensees with an opportunity to make representations on them. As part of these changes it is proposing two amendments to television broadcasting licences to reflect the new requirements of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the UK Government’s proposed implementation of it. The UK is required to implement the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and after the end of the Brexit transition period this will be ‘retained’ EU law. Ofcom’s proposals for television licences also reflect legislation which will take effect following the end of the transition period. Finally, it is consulting on some other changes to all broadcast licences.
The Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 made
The Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 SI 2020/ 952 has been made. It amends section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 to provide that the witnessing of wills may take place via videoconferencing or other visual transmission. This amendment applies where a will is made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022 but does not affect any grant of probate or anything done under a grant of probate before it comes into force.
UK government funds project to develop an automotive cybersecurity assurance framework
The UK government has announced a project to develop an automative cybersecurity assurance framework. New autonomous and wireless connectivity in vehicles will provide many commercial opportunities for innovation. However, those using connected and autonomous vehicles need to know that they, their vehicles and personal data will be kept safe from cyber attack. The government is investing in a collaborative project to develop an automotive cyber security assurance framework. It adopts an integrated set of standards for manufacturing innovation and assessment, with a rating system to build trust among consumers and insurers. A roadmap has been devised, which covers three specific areas: innovation, assessment and assurance rating. If fully adopted by the automotive industry it will operate in much the same way as the existing Euro NCAP type ratings for vehicle safety, with the aim of building trust in connected autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems. The next step is to run trials with vehicle manufacturers to validate the assurance framework against their vehicles and build upon the international interest received in the project to foster wider adoption.