This Week's Techlaw News Round-up

ASA escalates sanctions to non-compliant influencers, ICO issues enforcement notice to Ministry of Justice about subject access requests, ICO issues fine about unsolicited direct marketing calls and more in this week’s round-up of UK and EU techlaw news developments not covered elsewhere on the SCL website.

UK law

ASA escalates sanctions to non-compliant influencers

The Advertising Standards Authority has imposed more sanctions against six influencers. This is because they are consistently failing to disclose ads on their Instagram accounts, despite repeated warnings and help and guidance on sticking to the rules. As a result, the ASA is taking out ads against the six influencers on Instagram. The ASA’s ads aim to alert consumers about the influencers’ failures to follow the CAP and CMA guidance. The ASA has issued a warning that it will consider further sanctions if necessary. This includes working with social media platforms to have the content of non-compliant influencers removed, or refer influencers to Trading Standards for consideration of statutory action including possible fines. The six influencers, Francesca Allen, Jess Gale, Eve Gale, Belle Hassan, Jodie Marsh and Anna Vakili, are subject to enhanced monitoring and will continue to be for a minimum of three months. In most cases, the use of #ad (or similar) in an upfront and prominent manner is the clearest way of communicating the commercial nature of social media content. Alternatively, a platform's own disclosure tools, such as Instagram’s Paid Partnership tool, can also help to distinguish advertising from other content.

ICO issues enforcement notice to Ministry of Justice about subject access requests

The ICO has issued an enforcement notice about the Ministry of Justice. It says that the Ministry of Justice has contravened Article 15 of the EU and UK GDPR and Section 45 DPA18 in that it has failed to provide, without undue delay, 7,753 data subjects with a copy of their data in accordance with its legal obligations. Moreover, to the extent that the processing involves law enforcement processing, the Commissioner is of the view that the MOJ has contravened section 45 of the DPA in that it has failed to inform the relevant data subjects without undue delay, whether their personal data is being processed by or on behalf of the MOJ as controller and, where that is the case, has failed without undue delay to provide access, in an intelligible form, to such personal data, and to the information as set out at section 45(2) of the DPA. The MOJ has been advised to develop a recovery plan, containing details of how it intends to remedy the issue of the out-of-time subject access requests. It would also be advised to take appropriate steps to ensure that the current and prospective data subjects who make subject access requests are aware of any delays in operational practice that may affect their statutory rights.

ICO issues fine about unsolicited direct marketing calls

In addition, Energy Suite have been fined £2000 for making over 1,000 unsolicited direct marketing calls to subscribers who were registered with the TPS and who had not notified Energy Suite that they were willing to receive such calls, and to three complaints being made as a result. The ICO found that Energy Suite contravened regulation 21 of the Privacy Electronic and Communications Regulations 2003.

EU law

EDPS says stricter rules are necessary for online political advertising

The EDPS has published his Opinion on the EU legislators’ proposed Regulation on transparency and targeting for political advertising. In his Opinion, the EDPS welcomes the overarching aims of the proposed Regulation. The EDPS recommends that EU legislators consider stricter rules concerning online targeted advertising for political purposes, in addition to the proposed measures to make this type of advertising more transparent. In particular, the EDPS recommends that the proposed Regulation includes a full ban on microtargeting for political purposes, which consists of targeting an individual or a small group of individuals with political messages according to some of their perceived preferences or interests that their online behaviour may reveal. The EDPS also considers that further restrictions should be put in place concerning the categories of personal data that may or may not be processed for the purpose of political advertising, including when political advertising involves the use of targeting and amplification techniques. Specifically, the use of targeted advertising based on pervasive tracking for political purposes should be prohibited. In his Opinion, the EDPS makes other specific comments and recommendations on certain elements of the proposed Regulation, such as the relationship with the existing legal framework on data protection; the roles and responsibilities of those involved in political advertising; and the cooperation among the authorities responsible for the supervision and enforcement of the proposed Regulation, including data protection authorities.

Published: 2022-01-21T10:00:00

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