Earlier this year, the UK government released an AI white paper outlining its light-touch, pro-business proposal to AI regulation. Eight months on, and the UK appears to be sticking firm with this approach, with Jonathan Camrose (UK First Minister for AI and Intellectual Property) stating in a speech on 16 November 2023 that there will be no UK law on AI ‘in the short term’.

This stance has been taken in spite of the developments being made around the world in this area. The EU for example, by contrast, continues to make significant steps towards finalization and implementation of its landmark AI Act, with policy-makers announcing that they had come to a final agreement on the Act on 8 December 2023. Progress has also been made across the pond with President Biden issuing the executive order on Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence on 30 October 2023, with the intention of cementing the US as a world leader in the field. The UK’s reluctance to regulate in this area has been criticised by some as not addressing consumer concerns – but will this approach continue into 2024?Continue Reading AI Regulation in 2024 – Will The UK Continue to Remain The Outlier?

The UK Information Commissioner (ICO) was reportedly set to sound a note of caution recently, at Politico’s Global Tech Day, regarding the potential privacy risks that can arise in the context of generative artificial intelligence (AI).  

Privacy risks of generative AI

While acknowledging the potentially significant advantages and benefits that generative AI can bring, both to organisations and society more generally, the ICO’s Exec Director of Regulatory Risk, Stephen Almond, was expected to reiterate to businesses the need to consider the potential data protection issues around generative AI, noting that ensuring the compliance of such technologies with applicable data protection laws needs to be robustly scrutinised.Continue Reading UK Information Commissioner Warns of Privacy Risks Around Generative AI

The debate concerning the UK’s controversial Online Safety Bill (OSB) has continued to rumble on in recent days, with the UK Government reportedly again being warned that there is a real risk that certain messaging apps could be withdrawn from the UK if compromises cannot be reached on a number of issues.  

The OSB, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords, aims to increase the responsibility of social media platforms for their users’ safety.  It is intended to protect both children and adults in various ways.  Continue Reading Controversy around the UK’s Online Safety Bill continues

A number of encrypted messaging services have signed an open letter calling on the UK Government to reconsider various aspects of the Online Safety Bill (OSB) pending its final reading in the House of Lords, over concerns that the bill could threaten end-to-end encryption.

End-to-end encryption currently delivers a strong level of security for electronic messages, meaning that messages can only be read on the apps of the sender and intended recipient.  Continue Reading Messaging Apps Call for Re-evaluation of the Online Safety Bill

Introduction

Ahead of its much-anticipated guidance on the UK International Data Transfer Agreement / Addendum (IDTA) (the United Kingdom’s version of the EU standard contractual clauses (EU SCCs)), the UK data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has revised its guidance on international transfers of personal data under the UK GDPR (Transfer Guidance).Continue Reading UK Data Protection Regulator Updates its Guidance on Data Transfers

The United Kingdom and the United States joined forces last week in an initiative to combat ransomware attacks by sanctioning seven Russian nationals believed to be members of a hacking network.  Together with U.S. authorities, the UK’s Foreign Office has reportedly identified the individuals in question, frozen their assets and imposed travel bans in respect of them.

Ransomware is a type of malware that typically renders systems or data inaccessible, often due to the encryption of files.  Devices are often locked, and data may be leaked, in addition to being encrypted or deleted, unless and until the victim pays a “ransom” to the actors who deployed the ransomware in return for decryption. Continue Reading UK Takes Action Over Cybercrime

The new approach to regulatory and enforcement action adopted by the UK Information Commissioner’s office (ICO) looks set to continue in 2023. The ICO has indicated recently that it is modifying its attitude towards regulatory action in respect of public sector organisations. It has also noted that enforcement does not necessarily equate to fines, but includes various other “corrective powers,” including warnings, reprimands, compliance orders, limitation orders, erasure of data and suspension of data flows.

Going forward, the ICO intends to regulate for outcomes rather than outputs, observing that the number or level of fines should not be used as a yardstick by which to judge the ICO’s success and that achieving preferential outcomes and publicising these may have a more significant impact on UK citizens’ rights than monetary penalties might achieve.

Continue Reading UK Information Commissioner’s Office Highlights New Strategic Approach to Regulatory Action

International transfers of personal data under the UK GDPR are set to continue to be a key topic in 2023, in particular, regarding new UK adequacy regulations, transatlantic data flows, and updated guidance regarding the UK’s International Data Transfer Agreement (IDTA).

While 2022 saw the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and ICO comment on imminent updates on these issues, very little has actually materialised, leaving businesses and commentators alike hopeful that 2023 will be a year of increased certainty when undertaking restricted international transfers subject to the UK GDPR.Continue Reading UK GDPR: What Will 2023 Hold for International Data Transfers?