The government recently published its initial response to the public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper, in the first substantive update since its publication in April 2019. The consultation response is described as an indication of the direction of travel and it is clear that the policy development process is at an early stage. Certain things have been clarified, while much remains up for grabs. The government's full response to the consultation is expected in Spring 2020.
The Information Commissioner's Office recently published its draft Code of Practice on Direct Marketing. Covering traditional e-marketing but also newer tools increasingly relevant to marketers such as social media and adtech, the code is essential reading for those engaging in direct marketing activities in the United Kingdom. It includes important clarifications and updates to previous guidance, particularly in relation to in-app marketing messages, refer-a-friend schemes and marketing via social network platforms.
From Facebook's 'thumbs up' to Reddit's 'upvote' and Instagram's and Tik-Tok's 'likes', so-called 'vanity metrics' used by social media platforms are ubiquitous. For these platforms, it is important to consider the impact that shifting engagement trends might have on user-generated content in the context of online harms. Platforms should therefore examine what can be done to improve self-regulation (eg, removing 'addictive' structures such as visual metrics) to ensure that the online world is a supportive place.
The government recently released the much-anticipated Online Harms White Paper. Jointly authored by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Home Office, the paper sets out the government's proposals to address harms ranging from terrorism and child sexual exploitation to disinformation and harassment. It proposes fundamental changes to internet regulation in the United Kingdom and suggests that, among other technologies, AI may be both a source of the challenges and a means to resolve them.
The Court of Appeal recently allowed an exclusion/limitation of liability clause in a contract negotiated between a customer and a software package supplier to stand. However, customers should be aware that a 'best endeavours' clause could provide them with a means of mitigating the effects of an exclusion/limitation clause.
IT contracts for the supply of an operating system almost invariably contain clauses limiting or excluding the liability of the supplier of the system for the consequences of that system failing. This update considers how wide these clauses can be, and some of the difficulties of arguing that they are unenforceable.
A recent judgment recognizes the complex relationship between customers and suppliers of packaged software systems, which develops as modifications to the system are required. It sets out a framework of legal obligations which customer and supplier must observe before and after the system's implementation.
The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on March 1 2000. Companies that have not already appointed a data protection officer to assess and monitor compliance with the 1998 act should consider doing so now. Directors and officers of a company whose neglect contributes to an offence by the company under the act may be prosecuted along with the company.
The Treasury Taskforce has issued long-awaited IT-specific guidance on the standardization of private finance initiative contracts. It discusses common problems in public sector IT projects and stresses the importance of clearly defined requirements, sensible time scales, adequately trained personnel and proper risk assessment and due diligence.
Mediation is a method of dispute resolution which is intended to assist disputing parties in reaching a commercial settlement, and is a particularly effective means of resolving information technology disputes. This update outlines the advantages and procedures of mediation.
It is predicted that the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 will have a significant effect on commercial contracts in general. This update illustrates the impact it will have upon the information technology sector.