The UK Government’s (UKG) proposals for new, sector-specific cybersecurity rules continue to take shape. Following the announcement of a Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill and a consultation on the security of apps and app stores in the Queen’s Speech (which we briefly discuss here), the UKG issued a call for views on whether action is needed to ensure cyber security in data centres and cloud services (described here).

In recent weeks, the UKG has made two further announcements:

  • On 30 August 2022, it issued a response to its public consultation on the draft Electronic Communications (Security measures) Regulations 2022 (Draft Regulations) and a draft Telecommunications Security code of practice (COP), before laying a revised version of the Draft Regulations before Parliament on 5 September.
  • On 1 September 2022, it issued a call for information on the risks associated with unauthorized access to individuals’ online accounts and personal data, and measures that could be taken to limit that risk.

We set out below further detail on these latest developments.

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Continue Reading A packed end to the UK’s cyber summer: Government moves forward with telecoms cybersecurity proposals and consults on a Cyber Duty to Protect

The UK Government recently published its AI Governance and Regulation: Policy Statement (the “AI Statement”) setting out its proposed approach to regulating Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) in the UK. The AI Statement was published alongside the draft Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (see our blog post here for further details on the Bill) and is

On 18 July 2022, following its recent response to the public consultation on the reform of UK data protection law (see our blog post on the response here), the UK Government introduced its draft Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (the “Bill”) to the House of Commons.

The Bill is 192 pages, and contains 113 sections and 13 Schedules, which amend and sit alongside existing law (the UK GDPR, Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”), Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (“PECR”), the Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications (Amendments etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, etc.). Some readers’ immediate reaction might be to query whether the Bill will simplify the legislative framework for businesses operating in the UK and facilitate the goal of the Information Commissioner to provide “certainty” for businesses. Time will tell. The Government’s publication of a Keeling Schedule (essentially a redline of the UK GDPR and DPA 2018 showing the changes resulting from the Bill), expected in the Autumn, will be welcome.

Much of the content of the Bill was previewed in the Government’s consultation response and include proposed changes that are designed to try to reduce the administrative burden on business to some extent.  The Bill is by no means a radical departure from existing law, however, and in some key areas – such as data transfers – the law will essentially remain the same.  But we now have additional important details on proposed changes to UK data protection law, and we set out in this post our immediate thoughts on some details that are worth highlighting.

Continue Reading A Cautious Approach: the UK Government’s Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

In the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, the UK Government set out its legislative programme for the months ahead. This includes: reforms to UK data protection laws (no details yet); confirmation that the government will strengthen cybersecurity obligations for connected products and make it easier for telecoms providers to improve the UK’s digital infrastructure; and new rules to enable the use of self-driving cars on public roads. In addition, the government confirmed its plans to move forward with the Online Safety Bill. As part of the government’s broader agenda to “level up” the UK and provide a post-Brexit economic dividend, many of the legislative initiatives referenced in the Queen’s Speech are presented as seeking to encourage greater use of data and technology to support innovation and enable growth.

We summarize below the key digital policy announcements in the Queen’s Speech and how they fit into wider developments in the UK’s regulatory landscape.

Continue Reading UK Privacy and Digital Policy & Legislative Roundup

On 22 September 2021, the UK Government published its 10-year strategy on artificial intelligence (“AI”; the “UK AI Strategy”).

The UK AI Strategy has three main pillars: (1) investing and planning for the long-term requirements of the UK’s AI ecosystem; (2) supporting the transition to an AI-enabled economy across all sectors and regions of the UK; and (3) ensuring that the UK gets the national and international governance of AI technologies “right”.

The approach to AI regulation as set out in the UK AI Strategy is largely pro-innovation, in line with the UK Government’s Plan for Digital Regulation published in July 2021.

Continue Reading The UK Government Publishes its AI Strategy

On 2 September 2021, the transition year for the Children’s code (or Age Appropriate Design Code) published by the UK Information Commissioner (“ICO”) ended. The ICO’s Children’s code was first published in September 2020, with a 12-month transition period. In an accompanying blog, the ICO has stated that it will be “proactive in requiring social media platforms, video and music streaming sites and the gaming industry to tell [the ICO] how their services are designed in line with the code.”

Over the summer, the ICO has also approved two certification schemes under the UK GDPR. The certification schemes provide organizations with a mechanism to demonstrate their high level of commitment to data protection compliance.

Continue Reading UK ICO’s Children’s Code Transition Year Ends and ICO Approves Related Certification Schemes

On August 11, 2021, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) opened a public consultation to solicit stakeholder input regarding the UK’s approach to regulating international transfers of personal data under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (“UK GDPR”) (see here).  To kick off this initiative, the ICO published a consultation paper setting out various policy options that the UK is considering, as well as:

  • a draft set of contractual templates to facilitate transfers of personal data outside the UK, including: (1) a draft international data transfer agreement (“IDTA”); and (2) a draft international transfer addendum to be appended to the recently approved EU standard contractual clauses (“EU Addendum”); and
  • a draft transfer impact assessment tool designed to help controllers and processors transferring personal data under the UK GDPR satisfy the requirements articulated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the Schrems II decision (see here).

The ICO has requested that interested stakeholders submit their feedback by no later than October 7, 2021.  In this blog post, we summarize these documents and tools, and identify topics that interested stakeholders may want to address when preparing their submission to the public consultation.

Continue Reading UK Information Commissioner’s Office Opens Public Consultation on Policy Proposals and Documentation for International Transfers

On January 6, 2021, the UK’s AI Council (an independent government advisory body) published its AI Roadmap (“Roadmap”). In addition to calling for a  Public Interest Data Bill to ‘protect against automation and collective harms’, the Roadmap acknowledges the need to counteract public suspicion of AI and makes 16 recommendations, based on three main pillars, to guide the UK Government’s AI strategy.

Continue Reading AI Update: The Future of AI Policy in the UK

In April 2019, the UK Government published its Online Harms White Paper and launched a Consultation. In February 2020, the Government published its initial response to that Consultation. In its 15 December 2020 full response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation, the Government outlined its vision for tackling harmful content online through a new regulatory framework, to be set out in a new Online Safety Bill (“OSB”).

This development comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of, and regulatory changes to, digital services and markets. Earlier this month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority published recommendations to the UK Government on the design and implementation of a new regulatory regime for digital markets (see our update here).

The UK Government is keen to ensure that policy initiatives in this sector are coordinated with similar legislation, including those in the US and the EU. The European Commission also published its proposal for a Digital Services Act on 15 December, proposing a somewhat similar system for regulating illegal online content that puts greater responsibilities on technology companies.

Key points of the UK Government’s plans for the OSB are set out below.

Continue Reading UK Government Plans for an Online Safety Bill

On 1 April 2020, the UK Supreme Court handed down its ruling in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants [2020] UKSC 12.  The Court ruled that Morrisons was not vicariously liable for a data breach deliberately perpetrated by an employee.  The judgment is significant in that it overturned the decisions of the two lower courts (the High Court and Court of Appeal) and provides guidance for employers on when they may be held vicariously liable for data breaches and other violations of the GDPR involving employees, who act as independent controllers in their own right.

Continue Reading UK Supreme Court Rules That Supermarket Is Not Vicariously Liable For Data Breach Committed By Employee