Author: Alex Heshmaty

Alex Heshmaty is technology editor for the Newsletter. He runs Legal Words, a legal copywriting agency based near Bristol. Email alex@legalwords.co.uk. LinkedIn alexheshmaty.

State sponsored cyberattacks: what lawyers need to know

Sunburst: a moment of reckoning Towards the end of 2020, the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a warning, claiming that “Russian state-sponsored malicious cyber actors” had essentially hacked into a piece of network management software belonging to SolarWinds, which was installed on networks belonging to US government agencies and almost all Fortune 500 companies. Following […]

Read More

Facebook flexes its muscles down under

Australia announced its News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in 2020. The aim of the code is to force specified digital platforms (currently Google and Facebook) to pay news media outlets (notably the Murdoch press) in respect of any links hosted on these platforms which point to news content. At first this may […]

Read More

Uber contractors are workers: a blow to the gig economy?

Uber drivers have by the company been treated as fully self employed contractors, as opposed to workers or employees. Uber has always argued that it merely provides a software platform rather than running a fully fledged taxi service – similar to the stance of social media companies that they are platforms rather than publishers. But […]

Read More

Facebook moves UK users from EU to US terms

Facebook has announced that it will be moving all its users in the UK into user agreements with the corporate headquarters in California. Currently they have user agreements with the Irish subsidiary of Facebook, which are governed by EU law.  Facebook claims the reason for this change is due to Brexit: “Like other companies, Facebook […]

Read More

Online Safety Bill upcoming

We previously reported on the Online Harms White Paper in 2019, in which the government set out various proposals to reduce illegal and harmful online activity. The government has now published its full response to the consultation process. The government plans to take forward most of its original proposals, in the form of a forthcoming […]

Read More

ICO concludes Cambridge Analytica investigation

Although the internet was born out of a military research project, many of its original advocates touted its democratic potential to provide a platform for free exchange of ideas and creativity. But there were always voices of warning that the mass connectivity resulting from a global network could lead to something more Orwellian. The creeping […]

Read More

Reform of the communications offences

The government published its Online Harms White Paper in April 2019, which set out a range of proposals to reduce illegal and harmful online activity. An initial consultation response was published in February 2020, with a full response expected before the end of the year and potential legislation coming in early 2021. Meanwhile, the Law […]

Read More

NHS contact tracing app: teething troubles

Back in June, I wrote about the long delayed COVID-19 app, which was supposed to form a key part of the contact tracing system, famously hailed by Boris as “world beating”. The app was eventually launched on 24 September and has, according to government figures, been downloaded almost 20 million times. Although two million people […]

Read More

Regulation of the gig economy

The gig economy has garnered heavy criticism since it became an integral part of the world of work over the past decade or so. On the one hand it has been credited with providing flexible work for millions of people unable or unwilling to secure full time employment. On the other hand, it has been […]

Read More

Social media and political censorship

Currently, each social media platform has its own set of policies regarding what kind of content can be published by its users. Since many politicians are now heavily reliant on these platforms to bolster their support and reach out to new voters, the ability for the big tech deities such as Zuckerberg to decide on […]

Read More

Regulation of app stores

There have been a couple of interesting developments recently relating to apps on the Apple and Google app stores, both of which potentially threaten self regulation of these platforms. Fortnite sues Apple and Google Epic Games, the publisher behind hit computer game Fortnite, is taking legal action against both the Apple and Google app stores. […]

Read More

The end of the law firm office?

Alex Heshmaty asks Belinda Lester, founder of Lionshead Law, and Annie Joseph, a trainee solicitor at a top 100 UK law firm, to consider some of the key opportunities and challenges that remote working poses for lawyers. In a world of social distancing, the coronavirus pandemic has lent fresh impetus to the work-from-home movement. Law […]

Read More