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GDPR: A Guide to Sweet Spots?

I keep coming back to the idea that Data Protection law (at least as expressed in the GDPR) has two explicit objectives: to “protect natural persons” and to enable “free movement of data”. And those are presented as compatible, not conflicting. In the case of a couple of the Article 6 lawful bases for processing that’s […]

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AI, Consent and the Social Contract

“Consent” is a word with many meanings. In data protection it’s something like “a signal that an individual agrees to data being used”. But in political theory “consent to be governed” is something very different. A panel at the PrivSec Global conference suggested that the latter – also referred to as the “social contract” – […]

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Schrems II: pragmatism or uncertainty?

A fascinating panel at the PrivSec Global conference looked at how individual courts and regulators have responded to the Schrems II decision on international transfers of personal data. That decision, and the subsequent guidance from the European Data Protection Board, aimed to establish a consistent regime for transferring personal data from the EEA to external […]

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Information Sharing in Emergencies

The Information Commissioner’s new blog post explains how Data Protection law should be seen as a guide to when and how to share information in emergencies, not an obstacle to such sharing. In health emergencies three provisions are most likely to be relevant: Explicit Consent (GDPR Art.9(2)(a)): where an individual chooses to disclose information, such […]

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Ethics + Consultation + Regulation: a basis for trust

A fascinating discussion at today’s QMUL/SCL/WorldBank event on AI Ethics and Regulations on how we should develop such ethics and regulations. There was general agreement that an ethical approach is essential if any new technology is to be trusted; also, probably, that researchers and developers should lead this through professionalising their practice. First steps are […]

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Chatbots and Voicebots: legal similarities and differences

The EDPB’s new Guidance on Data Protection issues around Virtual Voice Assistants (Siri, Alexa and friends) makes interesting reading, though – as I predicted a while ago for cookies – they get themselves into legal tangles by assuming “If I need consent for X, might as well get it for Y”. We’ve been focusing more […]

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Hints at ICO approach to AI

It’s interesting to see the (UK) ICO’s response to the (EU) consultation on an AI Act​​​​​​. The EU proposal won’t directly affect us, post-Brexit, but it seems reasonable to assume that where the ICO “supports the proposal”, we’ll see pretty similar policies here. Three of those seem directly relevant to education: That remote biometric identification […]

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ICO proposals on personal data exports

The ICO’s proposals for international transfers seem closer to the actual findings of the Schrems II case than the EDPB’s effective demand that processing of non-pseudonymised data be kept within Europe. However, as a risk-based scheme, it will require more work from both exporters and importers to demonstrate that transferring doesn’t create significantly greater risk […]

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Draft Online Safety Bill

The Government’s Online Safety Bill proposes to impose duties on “user-to-user services” to deal with harmful (including both lawful and unlawful) content and to protect free speech while doing so. Unlike most operators of on-line discussion platforms, educational institutions already have legal duties in both areas: through legislation on safeguarding, preventing radicalisation, and free speech. […]

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Respectful systems: Not just for Children

The ICO’s Age Appropriate Design Code (more familiarly the “Children’s Code”) may have been written before lockdown, but it could provide useful guidance to everyone designing or implementing systems for the post-COVID world. We’re all trying to work out what a “hybrid” world should look like, whether in schools, colleges, universities, workplaces or social spaces. […]