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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 19 Issue: 11
(November 2017)


US senators John McCain, Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner proposed on 19 October 2017 the bipartisan Honest Ads Act (the ‘Bill’), which would extend the application of disclosure and monitoring requirements for politically driven advertising to specifically include adverts which appear on online platforms. The Bill, if signed into law in its current state, would amend definitions in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act 2002 and the Federal Election Campaign Act 1971 to require digital or internet-based advertising in all forms to comply with the same disclosure requirements that apply to traditional broadcasting platforms. The Bill would also require an online platform to maintain a ‘complete record’ of any request to purchase ‘a qualified political advertisement’ made by a person whose aggregate requests to purchase such political ads exceeds $500 during the preceding 12 months and make such records available for public inspection. / read more

The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (‘DCMS’) launched a consultation on its ‘Internet Safety Strategy green paper’ (‘Green Paper’) on 11 October 2017, setting out a number of voluntary objectives and initiatives for digital companies and Government to adopt in order to ‘ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online.’ The Green Paper considers the responsibilities of online companies to their users, and the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms, and proposes amongst other things the introduction of a social media levy, a social media code of practice, and annual internet safety transparency reporting requirements. / read more


Two years on from its publication, the sweeping changes to EU data protection laws that will be introduced by the General Data Protection Regulation (the ‘GDPR’) are now familiar territory for data protection practitioners (and those working in data-heavy industries). Becoming familiar with the 200-plus pages of the UK’s recently published Data Protection Bill (the ‘Bill’), which fills the ‘gaps’ left by the GDPR for Member States to complete, represents a fresh challenge. In this article, Emma L. Flett and Jennifer F. Wilson of Kirkland & Ellis International LLP summarise the key components and implications of the Bill, before discussing how it has been received by the UK’s data protection community. / read more

The European Commission (‘EC’), with the support of several EU Member States, wants to adapt EU taxation rules in order to adequately cover the digital market, and is trying to find measures to achieve a fair taxation of digital businesses, which currently pay very little tax in comparison to non-digital companies. The EC published a communication ‘A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the European Union for the Digital Single Market’ (the ‘Communication’), on 21 September 2017, and in this article, Andras Salanki and Julija Saduikyte, of PwC, assess the current EU tax landscape for digital businesses and analyse the changes being explored by the EC. / read more

Recent months have seen online platforms under pressure seemingly like never before in regards to how they deal with illegal content featured on their platforms. In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May called in September for tech firms to remove extremist content from their platforms within two hours, while on 28 September the European Commission issued guidelines and principles around ‘Tackling Illegal Content Online,’ including a number of steps online platforms can take to combat the problem. In light of these developments, Digital Business Lawyer spoke to several legal experts to get their perspectives. / read more

In the latest case involving data privacy activist Maximillian Schrems and Facebook Ireland, on 3 October 2017 the Irish High Court decided to refer the validity of standard contractual clauses (‘SCCs’) for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’). The case concerns the transfer of personal data from Facebook Ireland Limited to its parent company in the US, Facebook Inc., and raises issues as to whether a basis for doing so used by Facebook, namely the use of SCCs, were lawful under Irish and EU data protection law. Peter Bolger, Partner and Head of IP, Technology and Privacy at LK Shields Solicitors, analyses here the background to the case and the Irish High Court’s decision. / read more

The German Federal Court of Justice (‘BGH’) made a significant judgment on 11 May 2017, clarifying for online B2B merchants what measures they should take if they wish to prevent non-commercial consumers from making purchases on their websites. Olaf Wolters, Attorney at Law at Boehmert & Boehmert, provides insight into the judgment and its implications for online B2B traders, remarking that this surprising judgment may make it easier for online merchants to restrict their online stores to commercial customers only. / read more

The use of social media influencers has grown rapidly in an effort by brands to reach new demographics. Influencers are individuals who leverage their social media following to promote a brand or product in exchange for compensation. As influencers have gained popularity on social media platforms, the US Federal Trade Commission (‘FTC’) has closely scrutinised the disclosure of material connections. Richard B. Newman of Hinch Newman LLP analyses a recent enforcement action by the FTC, the first ever against individual online influencers. / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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