The debate around workplace monitoring of employees has rumbled on for many years now; employers argue that they are entitled to analyse how their staff spend their working day whilst employees claim it impacts upon their privacy. In 2017 the European Court of Human Rights held, in the case of Bărbulescu v Romania, that the actions of an employer in monitoring the instant messaging accounts of an employee breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But this hasn’t dissuaded some businesses from moving to ever more extreme forms of surveillance; microchipping has already happened in the UK and Amazon has filed patent applications on a warehouse productivity bracelet.

The Government published its Online Harms White Paper on 8 April 2019. The consultation, which is open until 1 July 2019, sets out proposals to reduce illegal and harmful online activity. The harms in scope include:

  • harassment and cyberbullying;
  • hate crime and incitement of violence;
  • terrorism, extremist and violent content;
  • revenge/extreme porn, child sexual exploitation and “sexting” by under-18s;
  • organised immigration crime and modern slavery;
  • encouraging or assisting suicide, self-harm and FGM;
  • coercive behaviour and intimidation;
  • sale of illegal goods (weapons, illegal drugs etc) and illegal uploading of content from prisons;
  • disinformation (fake news); and
  • underage exposure to pornography (this is separately being tackled by the heavily delayed age check scheme, now due to come into force on 15 July 2019).

Copyright law is being challenged by disruptive technologies such as AI and blockchain, themes addressed in the recently published 5th edition of the author’s book Digital Copyright, on which this article is based.

For many mediators, “online dispute resolution” is simply using online technology such as Skype or Zoom as the medium for real time discussion or exchanging emails for asynchronous discussion. Whilst these are helpful in bridging the geographical gap, the more exciting developments are around the development of artificial intelligence to actively assist the parties to reach an agreed resolution that might otherwise not be achieved or be achieved only after a lengthy and costly negotiation “dance”.

The decision to change the Azrights business model and just retain a meeting room wasn’t one I took lightly.

With distant memories of Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer putting an end to remote working at the company back in 2013 I was unsure what the latest thinking on remote working was when I took the plunge in 2017 to move the business to remote working for all.

I did some quick Google research which seemed to validate my decision that it would be a good idea to follow the trend among law firms and move to a remote working business model.

If you want to increase your team’s productivity then remote working does the trick it seems.

On Urban Dictionary “algorithm” is defined as “a word used by programmers when they don’t want to explain what they did.” As the pace of practical AI adoption increases, there is increasing truth in the joke. Someone who wants to understand this new technology, how it works and how it might be controlled or improved will encounter a number of informational barriers. To overcome the first of those hurdles, we need some proper definitions.

A new Code of Practice for Automated Vehicle Trialling reaffirms the Government’s desire for new transport technology to be invented, designed and used in the UK. This follows from the introduction of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 which extended mandatory motor insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles so that victims of an accident caused by a fault in the automated vehicle will be covered.

A recent major IT failure on the Ministry of Justice network, which reportedly led to the disruption of thousands of cases, highlighted how reliant courts already are upon technology. Commenting in the wake of the fallout, Richard Atkins QC, the chair of the Bar Council, noted that “it illustrates how vulnerable the delivery of justice is with reliance on weak IT systems in our courts.” Although HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has big plans for online justice beyond the physical courtroom, it is worth first considering the various technologies currently being used by the courts.

12 March 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal envisioning a unifying structure for linking information across different computers using hypertext, which by 1991 had been developed and became known as the World Wide Web. The day was marked by three celebratory events around the world, all attended by Tim: at CERN in Switzerland, at the Science Museum in London, and in Lagos, Nigeria.

The House of Lords, in its 9 March report Regulating in a digital world concludes that “the digital world does not merely require more regulation but a different approach to regulation.” It proposes “an agreed set of 10 principles that shape and frame all regulation of the internet, and a new Digital Authority to oversee this regulation with access to the highest level of the Government to facilitate the urgent change that is needed.”

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook seem to be in the news all the time at the moment, from Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica saga to Mark Zuckerberg’s failure to appear before the “international grand committee of elected officials” in the Houses of Parliament in late November last year.

The issues that Facebook face seem, on the face of it, to be very varied and different. Fake news. Extremist speech. Political advertising. A failure to deal with trolls. Invasions of privacy. Use of big data. Empire building through the acquisition of the likes of Instagram and WhatsApp and the potential for monopolistic practices that come from this. Despite appearances, however, these things are all very closely connected – and understanding that connection could be the key to finding some solutions, or at least ameliorating some of the problems. That connection is privacy.

Twitter is the social media platform of choice for journalists, free speech campaigners, Russian trolls and American presidents. On the social media spectrum of formality, it sits somewhere in between professional networking colossus LinkedIn and lolcat empire Facebook.

Twitter is essentially a “social” messaging service which enables you to maintain a minimalist profile, broadcast short “tweets” to your followers and view and respond to tweets of those you choose to follow, which are displayed in your “timeline”. It’s deceptively simple but at the same time somewhat of an enigma.

There are important differences that distinguish Twitter from Facebook and LinkedIn and give it its distinctive “personality”.