ICO fines three companies £415,000 for nuisance marketing, CMA publishes responses to its consultation on algorithms and consumer harm, BEIS consults on the future of connected and automated mobility and more in this week’s round-up of UK and EU techlaw news developments not covered elsewhere on the SCL website.
ICO fines three companies £415,000 for nuisance marketing
The ICO has fined three companies a total of £415,000 for sending nuisance marketing. They were also issued with enforcement notices. The first company was fined £170,000 for sending spam text messages directing people to a number of car finance websites. The second company was fined £100,000 for making 73,217 unsolicited marketing calls about solar panel maintenance between January and October 2020, including to people on the TPS. The third company was fined £145,000 for making 1.4 million calls selling funeral plans to people (who were also registered with the TPS) for a year between May 2019 and May 2020. In all cases, the companies did not have the valid consent required to send direct marketing under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
CMA publishes responses to its consultation on algorithms and consumer harm
The CMA has published the summary of responses to the consultation on its paper on algorithms, competition and consumer harm. Most of the responses agreed that the CMA has identified the correct areas of focus. However, they highlighted certain nuances, the need for legal analysis, empirical evidence and a proportionate approach for any investigation into the harms outlined. Respondents also suggested that there were further harms to consider, such as harms from organisations’ use of data, economic harms arising from the sharing of consumer data, and potential harms of algorithms to democracy.
BEIS opens consultation on the future of connected and automated mobility
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles are consulting about the future of connected and automated mobility in the UK. The consultation aims to seek evidence to inform strategic policy in the sector. The consultation ends on 16 July 2021.
UK government consults on the implementation of Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021
The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 gained Royal Assent in March. The DCMS is now consulting on regulations to implement the Act. In particular, the DCMS seeks views on three topics: terms to accompany Part 4A interim Code rights (acquired by operators after a successful application at the Tribunal); the process for making an application to the Tribunal and the duration of interim Code rights; and extending the scope of Part 4A of the Electronic Communications Code. The consultation ends on 4 August 2021.
European Commission publishes initial findings of the Consumer IoT Sector Inquiry
The European Commission has published the preliminary results of its competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer IoT related products and services in the EU. Its Preliminary Report confirms the rapid growth of these markets, but also identifies potential concerns. The findings cover (i) the characteristics of consumer IoT products and services, (ii) the features of competition in these markets, (iii) the main areas of potential concern raised by respondents in relation to the current functioning of consumer IoT markets, as well as to their future outlook. The European Commission is now consulting to more fully understand the concerns. The consultation ends on 1 September 2021, with the Commission aiming to publish its final report in 2022. The information collected will provide guidance to the Commission's future enforcement and regulatory activity. Any competition enforcement measure following the sector inquiry would have to be based on a case-by-case assessment. The findings of this sector inquiry can also contribute to the ongoing legislative debate on the Commission's proposal for the Digital Markets Act.
Separately, members of the European Parliament have called for tighter EU cybersecurity standards for connected devices, apps and operating systems, amid recent cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in the EU.
European Commission publishes guidance on Article 17 Copyright in Digital Single Market Directive
The European Commission has published guidance on Article 17 of Directive 2019/790 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The guidance is intended to assist the correct transposition of Article 17 into national law.
EURid provides updated advice to UK registrants with suspended .eu domains
The European Registry for Internet Domains (EURid) has notified all UK registrants whose .eu domains were suspended on 1 January 2021, that their domain names will be withdrawn on 1 July 2021 unless registration details are updated by that date. EURid has advised all registrants to liaise with registrars to ensure that any requests for the domain names to be returned to registered status is submitted to registrars before 30 June 2021. Registrants can demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their contact data, indicating a legally established entity in, or updating the residence to, one of the eligible EU or EEA member states, or demonstrating their citizenship of one of the EU member states.
European Commission proposes European Digital Identity framework
The European Commission has proposed a European Digital Identity framework. Under the new Regulation, member states would offer citizens and businesses digital wallets that will be able to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes (eg driving licence, diplomas, bank account).
European Commission consults on proposed roadmap for drone strategy
The European Commission is seeking feedback on its proposed roadmap for a revised drone strategy 2.0. The aim of the drone strategy is to enable drones to contribute, through digitalisation and automation, to new sustainable services and transport, while also accounting for possible civil or military technological synergies. The consultation ends on 2 July 2021.