Around and about the legal web July 2020

Digital Technology and the Resurrection of Trust

The House of Lords Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies has produced an important Report which focuses on a crisis “with roots that extend far deeper, and are likely to last far longer than Covid-19.” This virus, that affects us all, is the pandemic of misinformation and disinformation. “If allowed to flourish these counterfeit truths will result in the collapse of public trust, and without trust democracy as we know it will simply decline into irrelevance.”

Alex Walker of the UCL Constitution Unit provides a useful a summary of the main issues and recommendations contained in the report. The committee has recommendations, inter alia, on fact-checking, digital imprints, libraries of online political advertising, and promotion of digital literacy.

Schrems II

In Case C-311/18 Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems (aka Schrems II), the CJEU has declared the Privacy Shield invalid.

In an initial statement, the ICO states that “the CJEU has confirmed how EU standards of data protection must travel with the data when it goes overseas, which means this judgment has wider implications than just the invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield. It is a judgment that confirms the importance of safeguards for personal data transferred out of the UK.” They point to the FAQs of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) on the invalidation of the Privacy Shield and the implications for the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).

Hogan Lovells provides a useful backgrounder to the case and initial analysis and advice for what companies should do now.

Information Rights: A Practitioner’s Guide

The fifth edition of the now well-established leading work has just been published. Fully entitled Information Rights: A Practitioner’s Guide to Data Protection, Freedom of Information and other Information Rights, it covers the topic comprehensively and methodically in 51 chapters.

The second volume comprises extensive annotated statutory material, including the DPA 2018, the GDPR, FoIA, subordinate legislation, international conventions and statutory guidance.

Hart Publishing, June 2020, 2208 pages, £200.

A Lawyer’s Take on Social Media Misdeeds

Newsletter contributor Kelsey Farish has a great blog which she dubs “a lawyer’s musings on fashion, media, and digital culture”. Recently she has published a very useful overview (in two parts) of nine common offences people commit on social media, including copyright or trade mark infringement, defamation and harassment, and privacy and data protection concerns.

Planning, creating and publishing accessible social media campaigns

If you read that heading quickly, you may well have blanked out the “accessible”, but that’s precisely what this Guide from the Government Digital Service (GDS) is all about.

“Accessible social media campaigns can be more effective because they can be accessed and understood by the widest possible audience – regardless of whether people have a visual, hearing, speech, motor, cognitive or other combination of impairments.

“Inaccessible social media campaigns risk alienating our audience, reducing our impact and breaching key legislation … Accessibility should be built in from the start – it’s the right thing to do and will help your campaigns reach more of the people you need to.”

The guide outlines the key steps content producers can take to create social media campaigns that meet the standards of accessibility required from government communicators. But it is applicable to all concerned to meet similar standards.


Kira Systems has published a graphic explainer on How AI Accelerates the Legal Contract Drafting Process. “AI closes the gaps in previous contract drafting software. It offers attorneys the tools to draft contracts, and organize and revise existing data more efficiently, and mitigates the risk of future contract disputes.”

The Ministry of Justice has issued Guidance on making wills using video-conferencing. The new rules temporarily permit wills to be witnessed via video link with a clear line of sight.

HMLR’s Annual Report includes a section Digitally refocussed, describing how their digital transformation will focus on receiving verified digital data from customers in order to facilitate frictionless conveyancing.

This first appeared in the Internet Newsletter For Lawyers July 2020.