UK Publishes Cyber Governance Code of Practice for Consultation

On 23 January 2024, the UK government published its draft Cyber Governance Code of Practice (the “Code”) to help directors and other senior leadership boost their organizations’ cyber resilience. The draft Code, which forms part of the UK’s wider £2.6bn National Cyber Strategy, was developed in conjunction with several industry experts and stakeholders – including the UK National Cyber Security Centre. The UK government is seeking views from organizations on the draft Code by 19 March 2024.

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‘World-First’ Agreement on AI Reached

Over one hundred representatives from across the globe convened in the UK on 1-2 November 2023 at the Global AI Safety Summit. The focus of the Summit was to discuss how best to manage the risks posed by the most recent advances in AI. However, it was the “Bletchley Declaration” –announced at the start of the Summit—which truly emphasized the significance governments are attributing to these issues. (more…)

UK Information Commissioner’s Office Publishes Toolkit for Data Sharing with Law Enforcement

The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has introduced a toolkit on data sharing with law enforcement (“Toolkit”) which supplements the ICO’s existing guidance on sharing personal data with law enforcement authorities. The Toolkit is intended to function as a tool for smaller organisations to make an informed decision about whether to share personal data with law enforcement. Larger organisations with expertise in data protection are encouraged to refer to the ICO’s data sharing code of practice but in any event, the Toolkit is intended to help provide clarity for all organisations in making decisions relating to this type of sharing.

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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.

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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”).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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