The United Kingdom House of Lords (the “House”) recently released a report suggesting the creation of a "Digital Authority" in an effort to regulate the technological world, most notably online giants.  While the "Digital Authority" is not expected to replace the roles that organizations such as the UK Information Commissioner's Office play in the industry, it aims to collaborate with such organizations and recommend "additional powers" if there are significant problems.

In the report, the House asked for the development of ten guiding principles to govern the industry, including accountability, privacy, transparency, human rights and protection of children.  The House also wants to enforce a general "duty of care" among internet companies, requiring them to take "reasonable steps" to address and prevent harm.  They would also aim for privacy and safety settings that are at the most strict setting by default and requires user intervention to loosen the controls, and set clearer community content standards through a classification system similar to that employed by the British Board of Film.  The report also implores that firms that handle data publish yearly transparency reports showing how they develop, buy, use and store behavioural information.

The release of the report does not guarantee the implementation of a Digital Authority, but does recognize that the current system is "out of date" and that self-policing is "clearly failing," according to Lord Gilbert of Panteg.  The lord further stated that the UK should be "looking ahead" and developing policies that can apply to service in the future.

A full copy of the report from the House of Lords can be found here.

Summary By: Hashim Ghazi


19 03 21

Disclaimer: This Newsletter is intended to provide readers with general information on legal developments in the areas of e-commerce, information technology and intellectual property. It is not intended to be a complete statement of the law, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. No person should act or rely upon the information contained in this newsletter without seeking legal advice.

E-TIPS is a registered trade-mark of Deeth Williams Wall LLP.