UK ICO Scrutinizes Use of Generative AI

Following the EU’s increased focus on generative AI with the inclusion of foundation and generative AI in the latest text of the EU AI Act (see our post here), the UK now also follows suit, with the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) communicating on 15 June 2023 its intention to “review key businesses’ use of generative AI.” The ICO warned businesses not to be “blind to AI risks” especially in a “rush to see opportunity” with generative AI. Generative AI is capable of generating content e.g., complex text, images, audio or video, etc. and is viewed as involving more risk than other AI models because of its ability to be used across different sectors (e.g., law enforcement, immigration, employment, insurance and health), and so have a greater impact across society – including in relation to vulnerable groups.


EU-U.S. Adequacy Once Again

On July 10, 2023, the European Commission issued its Final Implementing Decision granting the U.S. adequacy (“Adequacy Decision”) with respect to companies that subscribe to the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”).


UK Sets Out It’s “Pro-Innovation” Approach To AI Regulation

On 29 March 2023, the UK’s Department for Science Innovation and Technology (“DSIT”) published its long awaited White Paper on its “pro-innovation approach to AI regulation” (the “White Paper”), along with a corresponding impact assessment. The White Paper builds on the “proportionate, light touch and forward-looking” approach to AI regulation set out in the policy paper published in July 2022. Importantly, the UK has decided to take a different approach to regulating AI compared to the EU, opting for a decentralised sector-specific approach, with no new legislation expected at this time. Instead, the UK will regulate AI primarily through sector-specific, principles based guidance and existing laws, with an emphasis on an agile and innovation-friendly approach. This is in significant contrast to the EU’s proposed AI Act which is a standalone piece of horizontal legislation regulating all AI systems, irrespective of industry.


New UK Digital Markets Regime: Key Differences With the EU Digital Markets Act

On April 25, 2023, the UK government published the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (the UK Bill). The Bill proposes wide-ranging reforms to UK competition and consumer law, including obligations for digital platforms designated with so-called “strategic market status” (SMS).


The Future of UK Open Banking: Joint Regulatory Oversight Committee Issues Recommendations

The committee of government and regulatory authorities responsible for open banking in the UK has set out its plans and timeframes for expanding and developing infrastructure, standards, and processes for the sector. Central among these are proposals to improve the performance of interfaces among relevant firms, mitigate financial crime risks, and ensure that end users receive sufficient information and are protected if something goes wrong. This Sidley Update summarises the proposals and key points for firms.


UK’s OfCom to Publish Guidance on Illegal Content Risk Assessments in Light of Online Safety Bill

The UK’s Online Safety Bill (“Bill”), once legislated, will impose duties of care on providers of digital services, social media platforms and other online services to make them responsible for content generated and shared by their users and to mitigate the risk of harm arising from illegal content, and if services are deemed accessible by children, a duty to protect children from harm. As currently drafted, the Bill applies to any service or site that has users in the UK, or targets the UK as a market, even if it is not based in the country. The Bill is currently at the Committee Stage of the legislative process. Although the Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent during 2023, the timeline as to when the provisions will come into force is still unclear.


UK GDPR Reform Is Back! Department of Science, Innovation and Technology Introduces New Data Protection and Digital Information Bill

On 8 March 2023, the newly created Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (“DSIT”) introduced the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill. The “Bill” is in substance a re-introduction of the previous Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which was withdrawn from Parliament on the same day as the new Bill was published. The Bill, which has been hailed by the UK Government as one that will “save billions” and “cut down pointless paperwork” is the UK’s latest attempt to create a more streamlined piece of data protection legislation for the UK whilst still “ensur[ing] data adequacy.” The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) also welcomed the re-introduction of the Bill, with the Commissioner stating that he would “support [the Bill’s] ambition.” While much of the Bill remains the same as its previous iteration, we set out the key provisions and notable amendments below.


UK’s New Pro-innovation Approach to Regulating Digital Technologies

On 15 March 2023, the UK Government published, alongside its Spring Budget, a report on the Pro-innovation Regulation of Technologies Review (the “Report”). The Report was led by the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and National Technology Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, who was tasked with “bringing together the best minds to advise how the UK can better regulate emerging technologies, enabling their rapid and safe introduction.” In response, the UK Government has accepted all of the Report’s recommendations, and set out some next steps for their implementation.


ICO Publishes Draft New Guidance on PETs

On 7 September 2022, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published draft guidance (“Guidance”) on privacy-enhancing technologies (“PETs”). It is hoped that the Guidance will help organizations have the confidence to utilize PETs to develop innovative applications without compromising on privacy concerns, or trust. The Guidance is divided into two sections: (i) how can PETs help with data protection compliance; and (ii) what are PETs. We consider the key learning points from the Guidance below.  (more…)

Reflecting on the UK Inaugural DaTA Conference: Top Five Trends to Watch as Global Regulators Step up Enforcement in Digital Markets

Last week, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) hosted its inaugural Data, Technology, and Analytics (DaTA) Conference.

The CMA DaTa Conference has been hailed as a milestone as it convened for the first time regulators, data scientists, engineers, tech companies, and academics to discuss evolving challenges in digital markets. The conference coincided with London Tech Week, during which Chris Philp, UK Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, unveiled a new UK Digital Strategy: the UK government’s vision for regulating digital markets, involving a monitoring framework and outcomes-focused regulation. The government has opened a public consultation, and stakeholders have until September 5, 2022, to offer their views on the proposed approach.

Against this background, here is our selection of the top five trends that stood out over the course of the CMA DaTa Conference. (more…)