Legal Update February 2020

A summary provided by the IPA Legal and Public Affairs Team

Latest Legal News

    Migration Advisory Committee Report

    The MAC has published its report on how the UK might incorporate a points-based system into its post-Brexit immigration framework. The report also makes recommendations on salary thresholds for Tier 2 (General) sponsored worker visas.

    Some of the MAC’s key recommendations include:

    • if the government intends to implement a points-based visa route for those without a job offer, it should modify the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. Modifications should include an expression of interest system, where applicants who have indicated their interest are invited to submit applications on a monthly basis. Points should be awarded for qualifications, age, having studied in the UK and skills that would contribute to priority areas, such as STEM and creative sectors;
    • the current framework for Tier 2 (General) as a work visa for those with a job offer should continue. This is partly based on feedback that businesses want the certainty of knowing that they will be able to hire workers into eligible jobs;
    • the general salary threshold for settlement in the UK should fall from the current £30,000 to around £25,600 (based on 2019 figures);
    • there should be a single salary threshold across the UK, rather than a system of regional salary thresholds;
    • roles on the shortage occupation list (SOL) should not have lower salary thresholds, but once the new immigration system is in place, there should be a review of whether the SOL should be maintained and, if so, what the advantage of being on the SOL should be; and
    • the criteria for settlement should be reviewed. Tier 2 (General) workers may be eligible to apply for settlement after five years in the UK.

    The recommended reductions in the salary thresholds should be widely supported by UK employers. The government frequently adopts recommendations by the MAC in formulating and implementing immigration policy on work routes into the UK. However, ministers have made clear that the MAC's role is purely advisory and it remains to be seen which, if any, of its recommendations will be adopted.

    Data Protection and Brexit

    The ICO has published a short statement confirming that during the Brexit transition period, it will be “business as usual” for data protection. The GPDR will continue to apply and businesses should continue to follow the ICO’s existing guidance. The ICO acknowledges that it is unclear what the data protection landscape will look like at the end of the transition period and recognises that businesses will have concerns about the flow of personal data in future.

    CMA Interim Report into Online Platforms and Digital Advertising

    We have produced a short summary of the CMA’s 283 page interim report into online platforms and digital advertising. The report details the CMA’s concerns about a vast range of issues, including the business models of Google and Facebook, the impact on consumers of digital advertising, data protection issues, characteristics of the display and search markets, transparency and the CMA’s potential interventions. Although long, agencies are advised to read the full report. Responses to the consultation are due by 12 February.

    ICO Age Appropriate Design Code

    The ICO has published its final Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy. The code does not introduce new law, but it sets standards and explains how the GDPR applies in the context of children using digital services. The code requires those responsible for designing and developing apps, games, connected toys and websites likely to be accessed by children, to put the best interests of the child first. Organisations should conform to the code and be able to demonstrate that their services use children’s data fairly and in compliance with data protection law. Settings must be “high privacy” by default (unless there’s a compelling reason not to); only the minimum amount of personal data should be collected and retained; children’s data should not usually be shared; geolocation services should be switched off by default; and nudge techniques should not be used to encourage children to provide unnecessary personal data, weaken or turn off their privacy settings. The code also addresses issues of parental control and profiling. Organisations will have a transition period of 12 months to implement the necessary changes from the date that the code takes effect following the Parliamentary approval process.

    DCMS Call for Evidence on Online Advertising

    The government has published a Call for Evidence on Online Advertising as part of its response to the Cairncross Review to consider how online advertising is regulated in the UK. In particular, the government wants to look at how well the current regime is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by developments in online advertising. The overall aim is to foster fair, accountable and ethical online advertising, that works for citizens, businesses and society as a whole. The Call for Evidence seeks views on the content and placement standards governing online advertising, and complements and supplements the work of parallel reviews in this area, such as the CMA interim report. DCMS has acknowledged that online advertising is the ‘heart of the digital economy’, a crucial provider of ‘key online services’, and a positive force for both businesses and consumers. However, it is seeking to resolve significant concerns about digital advertising and its regulation. 10 questions form the core of the evidence gathering. Responses are due by 23 March.

    Radiocentre guidance on Ts&Cs for motor brand finance in radio ads

    Radiocentre has published new guidance to help prevent car brands being over-cautious and including unnecessary terms and conditions for car finance in their radio ads.The guidance is for anyone responsible for ensuring Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) compliance for financial promotions in radio ads involving consumer credit or consumer hire offers for motors brands. Radiocentre says that research demonstrates that including lengthy information reduces the effectiveness of Ts&Cs – only 4% of listeners say they can recall any salient facts. The same research shows that long and complicated information often reduces listener trust in radio advertising. Car finance advertisers can be put off from using radio because they often believe, mistakenly, that more Ts&Cs are needed than is the case under FCA regulations. Radiocentre estimates that this costs the industry £120 million.

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