Unlimited Streaming Deals Contributing To Piracy?

Stream RippingAs Three becomes the first network provider in the UK to launch a tariff that lets its customers use unlimited streaming services without it affecting their monthly data allowance, some media commentators are concerned that more streaming services of this kind could lead to more piracy.

Streaming & Stream Ripping

Streaming is the real-time transmission of data (e.g. audio and video) over the internet to computers and mobile devices. Stream ripping is the process of using software to turn that streamed data (music and video) into files so that they can be watched / listened to offline on computers and phones. Stream ripping is possible because music and video streaming services have urls, and there are now many freely available programs to download that can stream-rip content.

What’s The Problem?

The problem is that films, video and recorded music are covered by copyright and intellectual property laws. Although many people are happy to pay to use legal streaming services in the form they are delivered such as Netflix and Spotify, stream ripping and the storage and distribution of the ripped files infringes those laws and is technically piracy.

According to research by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and PRS for Music, usage of stream-ripping sites increased by 141.3% between 2014 and 2016, thereby making them more popular than all other illegal music services. The same research showed that in September 2016, these sites were used 498,681 times to pirate music in the UK


According to the IPO and PRS, research 15% of UK adults are now using these illegal services, with 33% of them being in the 16-24 age bracket.


According to the research, the most popular reasons given for using stream-ripping include a belief that music was already owned by users in another format (31%), simply wanting to listen to music offline (26%) and on the move (25%), not being able to afford to buy the tracks legally (21%), and believing that music is overpriced (20%).

The Three Deal

There is no suggestion that the new Three ‘Go Binge’ service is causing or contributing to piracy. The fact is, however, that it is an unlimited streaming deal for data-heavy users averaging 6GB a month. It is conceivable that without Three imposing their own security measures, Go Binge could be used for stream ripping.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This story illustrates how difficult it can be in an online world to prevent publicly available content being shared for free, and how creative industries continue to suffer from not being able to find effective ways to get monetary rewards for recorded output or to make consumers comply with the law. In a share-everything-online world where users are used to content being free, copyright and intellectual laws are often either not widely known about or are ignored and circumvented in a kind of mass diffusion of responsibility due to the large numbers of people who are doing it without penalties.

The increased take-up of legal streaming services in recent years is, however, more promising but it is clear that more measures need to be taken, perhaps by companies offering streaming deals, to make sure that stream ripping is not taking place.

News Bots to Flood UK with 30,000 Articles a Month

google-botsGoogle’s has awarded €706,000 ($800,000) to the UK’s Press Association (PA) so they can develop robot reporters or news-bots that can generate 30,000 articles a month

Digital News Initiative

The funding is part of Google’s €150m Digital News Initiative, a three-year program in support of European journalism using technology. The initiative is in its third and final year, and lis looking to provide funding for 7 projects in 27 countries.

Codenamed RADAR, or Reporters and Data and Robots, the Press Association project is a joint effort with Urbs Media, a UK startup specialising in automated data journalism.


On the one hand, this is an effective and less labour-intensive way to satisfy the demand for more news. Some sceptics, however, have noted that the initiative could be a handy way for tech and advertising giant Google to help websites to get more readers and thereby gain more advertising business and revenue for itself.

On its website, the PA has issued a statement about RADAR’s role in meeting the growing demand “for consistent, fact-based insights into local communities, for the benefit of established regional media outlets, as well as the growing sector of independent publishers, hyperlocal outlets and bloggers.”

Natural Language Processing Software

For the news bots to generate information and stories, natural language processing software will be used on a grand scale. The PA and Urbs Media will reportedly select a team of five journalists to identify, template, and edit data-driven stories. These journalists will apply the code to publicly available government databases to churn out stories.

Hope For The Local Press

This comes at a most opportune time where Britain’s hard-pressed and diminishing local press need to meet the demands for more and more page views, as well as filling spaces in print. PA Editor-in-Chief Pete Clifton has reportedly acknowledged the usefulness of RADAR in terms of cost-effectiveness in providing incisive local stories, and the fact that, although skilled human journalists are still vital in the process, local media would find it very difficult to produce articles in the numbers necessary with the limited number of journalists that they have.

Not Just The Press Association
Although the PA received the largest grant of UK recipients, Google also gave funding to other organisations as part of the initiative. These include Wikipedia (€385,000), City University (known for its popular journalism school (€335,113), fact-checking body ‘Full Fact’ (€300,000), owner of various computing titles ‘Dennis Publishing’ (€160,000), and Al Jazeera (€50,000).

News Bots Already Used In Some Countries

News bots are already being used by some media companies. In China, for example, Xiaomingbot generated hundreds of stories for last year’s Rio Olympics, and The Los Angeles Times’ own news bot, Quakebot, recently made headlines when it generated news of an earthquake off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This kind of initiative is another example of how many businesses are finding ways to promote and harness the power of technologies such as AI to help meet demand, particularly where services e.g. customer service, are concerned, in a cost effective, value adding way. It is also an example of how automation is beginning to be used to replace human jobs.

Research firm Gartner, for example, estimates that up to 85% of customer service centres will become virtual by 2020 e.g. by using more bots, and Facebook announced last April F8 that anyone can now make their own bot using Facebook’s application programming interface (API) known as ‘Messenger Platform’.

Also, in March this year, a report by PwC claimed that over 30% of UK jobs could be lost to automation by the year 2030. How much automation and what kind of automation individual businesses adopt will, of course, depend upon a cost / benefit analysis compared to human workers, and whether automation is appropriate and is acceptable to their customers.

US Laptop Bans Lifted on Kuwait Airways and Royal Jordanian

Laptop BanAfter security inspections of Kuwait Airways by US officials and the implementation of new security measures for US-bound flights by Royal Jordanian, the two carriers were allowed to lift the ban on laptops.

What Ban?

Back in March, the UK and US governments introduced a ban on taking laptops and tablets on planes as cabin baggage on flights from selected Middle East and North African Countries. The stated aim was to reduce the risk of concealed bombs being taken on board passenger aircraft.

For the UK, the ban was set to cover all flights from 6 countries: Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon. This means that 14 airlines, including British Airways and Easyjet, have been affected by the ban.

For the US, the ban has covered all flights from 8 countries: Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the ban (up until now) has affected 9 airlines.

Kuwait Airways & Royal Jordanian

The ban has been lifted for Kuwait Airways and Royal Jordanian after both carriers reportedly worked with US officials in tightening their security measures for flights from Kuwait and Jordan. Kuwait Airways flies from Kuwait to New York via Ireland, while Royal Jordanian flies to three US cities from Amman, Jordan.

More Airlines Last Week

Last week, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, and Qatar Airways became exempt from the ban. Meanwhile, airlines in Morocco, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia have not yet announced the lifting of the ban.


Saudia, the flagship carrier of Saudi Arabia, has announced that, as from 9th July, passengers will be able to take personal electronic devices on flights bound for the US.

Royal Air Maroc, the flagship carrier of Morocco, is reported to be confident that they too will be able to have the ban lifted on their flights out of Casablanca by the same date.

Tighter Security Announced Last Month

Last month it was reported that the US Department of Homeland Security had announced plans for stricter passenger screening and other tougher security measures for all commercial flights entering the United States. The new rules look likely to affect around 2,000 flights a day from 280 airports in 105 countries. The rules have, however, fallen short of banning laptop computers and e-readers in carry-on luggage for all.

It is believed that as well as screening laptops and other personal electronic devices, the new measures may include more vetting of travellers, more explosive-sniffing dogs, greater exchanging of terrorist watch lists, and putting more systems in place to prevent insider attacks (by airline employees).

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Although some airlines have enjoyed a relaxing of the rules, many are still being affected by the ban. For airline businesses, the continuation of the ban and the tightening of rules for the majority could hit profits by affecting passenger numbers, could increase baggage scanning and security costs (particularly at smaller airports), and could negatively affect customer satisfaction levels.

For business travellers, the ban can mean lost time where work could be done e.g. on the laptop during flights. The ban can also mean the hassle of having to find other means of entertainment on long flights, and perhaps having to suffer more distractions from other passengers who cannot use their electronic devices e.g. children.

For many travellers, the ban can mean greater disruption as a result of increased waiting times at security, and some commentators have also pointed out that there is the potential for electronic devices stored in the baggage hold to be damaged or lost, and this could have insurance implications. Other critics have also pointed out that forcing people to put laptops in cargo holds could pose other dangers because the lithium batteries could start fires.

The recent general tightening of the rules for flights entering the US (at a particularly busy time of year) have been criticised too for not having a great enough degree of collaboration and coordination to avoid the operational disruptions and frustrating consequences that could result from them.

40% Of London Public Transport Customers Now Using Contactless Cards

The latest Transport for London (TfL) figures show that 40% of public transport customers in London are paying for their journeys with contactless payment cards.

This represents a 25% increase in contactless use for all journeys since last year and the convenience and speed of using contactless has seen people moving away from pay-as-you-go Oyster Cards.

1 Billion ‘Contactless’ Journeys

Since the introduction of contactless payment cards in 2012 on buses and in 2014 on the tube and London Overground, the use of contactless payment cards recorded a billion journeys.

Contactless technology enables users to ‘tap and pay’ without entering a PIN for items or services up to £30 at a time, and the TFL figures show that payment using contactless now averages two million journeys every day, and one in ten journeys is paid for using contactless payment technology on mobile devices.

World Leader

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been reported as saying that the figures show the global lead that London now has in the use of contactless, and how the revenue generated from selling TfL’s technology to other major global cities will be used to further improve London’s own transport network.

Boost For Tourism & Leisure Too

It is not just London’s daily workers who are finding the contactless system easy and convenient. Tourism and leisure in London is also thought to be benefiting from this system of payment as it simplifies travel for all.

x001-00081-buses-contactless-payment_rdax_400x200More Capacity – More Contactless

It has been reported that TfL will be introducing contactless payment options for the Elizabeth Line when it is fully opened in East London by December 2019. The Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% and will carry over half a million passengers each day, many of whom look likely to be using contactless for their journeys. The line is also designed to help deal with the increase in demand for public transport as London’s growing population is set to rise from 8.6m to around 10m by 2030.

Digital Rather Than Contactless Cards In Future

Some tech commentators have pointed out that digital payments using mobile devices will soon be taking over from contactless cards. Boston Consulting Group figures show that 20% of all consumer payments will be digital by 2021 (four times more than today), and just over half of that will be touch-and-go payments.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This story is an example of how the ease and convenience of contactless technology is benefitting businesses and their customers, and how cash, traditional debit card transactions, and pre-paid card systems are likely to decline as a result. Projected figures from payments industry trade body ‘Payments UK’ for example, have shown that as soon as next year, more payments will be made using debit cards than using cash, and this is being fuelled by contactless technology.

For businesses, contactless payments can mean increased average transaction values (ATV), more footfall, a reduction in the costs and hassle of handling cash, and reduced business risks due to having a clear audit trail and assured payment.

Smart Pest Control System Outsmarts Rats

Computer mouse and mousetrap isolated on white background

A smart new system from Swedish company Anticimex is now using smart technology to bring pest control into the 21st century by tracing rats and revealing vital information about where they converge or nest.

Used To Be Manual

Like many companies in that industry sector, pest control for the main industrial clients of Anticimex used to involve the manual process of the setting up of traps, and stopping by once a week or once a month to check if the trap had caught a rat.

The Inspiration

Anticimex CIO Daniel Spahr is reported as saying that the inspiration for the change from manual checking to smart innovation came from when, as a regional manager in central Europe, he read about rat infestations in Copenhagen and the invention of a motion detector-based rat trap to be used in the sewer system.

Catching Rats The Smart Way

When smart traps first came into being, the system has some basic reporting features. These were improved upon over time, and this process was helped by Anticimex engaging software company IFS to further develop the new platform for smart traps. This led to a trial of the new Anticimex in Finland this April.

As well as tracing rats and giving information about where they converge or nest, the smart traps work by sending real-time data and reporting if motion is detected, or if a trap has been activated. The information collected by the units can be used to improve the sales and marketing of the product, and give customers a detailed idea of the pest control efforts happening in their properties.

Battery Powered

The traps themselves are powered by various sizes of rechargeable batteries. Equipped with SIM cards, the units send text messages via SMS through 2G and 3G networks, alerting Anticimex of any activity with its traps 24 hours a day. The units send out warnings if the batteries need to be recharged / batteries that need to be replaced, etc. This information can help Anticimex plan their resources for its smart traps.

Hard To Hack

Despite worries about how smart devices of all kinds can be vulnerable to attacks by cyber criminals, Anticimex are reported to be confident that the devices and their communications are highly secure and difficult to hack.

Financial Rewards

The move by Anticimex into innovative smart technology appears to be paying off as the pest control company is now achieving revenues of US$474 million.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

This is another example of how some very old problems are now being solved using the latest smart technology. In the case of Anticimex, vision and inspiration, plus a strategic alliance with a technology company has delivered an important technical and competitive advantage, and could revolutionise a whole industry.

If this can be achieved with a pest control business, other businesses should be asking themselves how / if technology could play a part in solving some of the challenges for businesses and their customers in a cost-effective way, and whether the fresh perspectives and ideas offered by alliances e.g. with technology companies could help move things more quickly forward in new, exciting, and lucrative directions.

Hologram Phone Launch

Hollywood-based, high-quality camera manufacturer ‘Red’ has surprised the tech world by producing a holographic, virtual-augmented and mixed-reality-ready smartphone.

Hydrogen One

Red, a developer and manufacturer of high-quality cameras used in Hollywood blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and others, has just unveiled the Hydrogen One stand-alone, full-featured, unlocked multi-band smartphone, with an Android OS and holographic capabilities!

The idea of the phone is that it can form the basis of a modular, multi-dimensional media system, where parts can be added to enable it to do many different things.

World First?

The Hydrogen One is being positioned by Red a ‘world’s first’ holographic media machine that you can fit in your pocket, and that you don’t need to use special glasses with in order to experience the special effects.

The price tag for the Hydrogen One is $1,195 for the model with aluminium casing and $1,595 for a titanium-cased model. You can place an advance order for the Hydrogen One now but the devices won’t actually be shipped until sometime in the first quarter of 2018.Hydrogen One


According to Red, the features that make the Hydrogen One so “retina-riveting” include the fact that it uses nanotechnology that allows the user to switch between traditional 2D content, holographic multi-view content, 3D content and interactive games.
Another key feature of the Hydrogen One is that its operating system also has an algorithm that can reportedly convert stereo sound into the kind of multi-dimensional audio that is like 5.1 on headphones, and is intended to be a great match with holographic H4V.

Some Scepticism

Some technical commentators have been sceptical about the Hydrogen One because they believe that Red has yet to prove itself as a popular electronic device manufacturer. There is also some scepticism as to whether the products can / will actually deliver the level of feature quality that lives up to the current hype. Critics of the product have also said that it may be a bit too niche and that it caters to a very affluent audience.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The fact that this device is being positioned as a media machine that is simply the foundation of a future multi-dimensional media system helps the avoid product being simply classed as another phone (to compete with the big phone manufacturers). It also shows how businesses are combining technologies to create new offerings that are potentially more adaptable to the fast-changing requirements of tech-savvy new generations of customers who have very specific requirements and value customisation in their products.

Fibre Broadband, Government’s Scheme Launched With £400m

The long-expected launch of the UK government’s plans to improve broadband speeds for homes and businesses by replacing copper phone wires with fibre-optic cable has been launched with a £400 million investment from the Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Not Full-Fibre For Most Properties

Although the aim is ‘full-fibre’, this first stage is intended to replace the copper cable that runs from individual properties to the roadside cabinets / green boxes at the end of the street. This means that most of the infrastructure for broadband, for the time being, will actually be ‘hybrid fibre’.

Full-fibre (where cables from the box are fibre-optic too) could potentially deliver multi-Gigabit speeds faster than 1000Mbps, but full-fibre is currently only available to 2% of UK premises (despite 89% of UK premises now being within reach of a fixed line superfast broadband service). This does not compare well to other European countries. In Spain for example, 80% of premises have full-fibre access.

Even Faster

The government’s focus until now has been to provide ‘super-fast’ broadband speed (24Mbps or more), but the government’s plans to start replacing copper with fibre-optic is intended to produce ‘ultra-fast’ broadband (anything over 100Mbps).

Two Technologies Together

There are in-fact two technologies which are being deployed to help the UK to work towards ultra-fast broadband. One is fibre, the other is BT’ Openreach’s G.fast which can get high speeds (330Mbits) using a copper wire system. It is cheap to install because it can simply piggyback on existing cables, but it can degrade through too much contact with water.

The Money

Most telecoms commentators agree that the £400 million initial investment from the government will be nowhere near enough for the scheme to reach its aims. It is thought that lots more private money (private investors will bring the current total up to £1bn) and tax money will have to be used to bring about the desired updating of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure.


There have been many criticisms of the government’s big plans for boosting broadband speeds with the widespread use of fibre-optic cables including:

  1. Even if you have a fibre-optic cable to your home / business premises, there will still be shared traffic points in the network which will slow down your broadband at certain times.
  2. The scheme will need a large number of construction workers. This could mean disruption, logistical challenges, and high costs.
  3. Full fibre-optic, ultra-fast broadband is not likely to be a reality in the UK anytime soon. At the current rate, BT Openreach has stated that only two million premises will have access to ‘full fibre’ by the end of 2020.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

With so much of business (with customers, suppliers, and internal communications / collaboration) now conducted over the Internet, a fast connection is essential to help UK businesses to remain competitive. It is disappointing, therefore, that UK businesses don’t have, and look unlikely to have any time soon, access to kind of speeds that overseas companies (e.g. competitors) enjoy. While it is good that funding and momentum for the task of delivering faster (fibre or fibre/G.fast) broadband for UK businesses looks to be increasing, the UK has a long way to go. The reality is that we may only have 7% full fibre coverage by 2020.

Rogue Drone Over Gatwick

It has been reported that a drone being flown dangerously close to Gatwick airport was the reason why four Easyjet and one British Airways flights had to be diverted.

Runway Operations Suspended

Reports indicate that runway operations at Gatwick for two periods (one nine, and one five minute period) between 6pm and 7pm on Sunday 2nd July were suspended.

The resulting flight diversions during that period meant that many passengers ended up far from their intended destination (West Sussex), in places such as Stansted, Southend (Essex), and Bournemouth (Dorset).

The Drone

Reports about the exact nature of the drone itself are limited, other than to say that it was observed in the vicinity of Gatwick. Sussex Police are reported to be investigating the matter, but as yet the drone pilot has not been identified, and police were not able to recover the drone from the scene.

Certainly Not The First Time

The UK’s safety body jointly funded by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Defence known as Airprox has recorded 70 such incidents last year, and 33 so far in this year. In fact, there has been a total of 142 Airprox incidents involving drones since 2010, with 40 of them being recorded near Heathrow, and 6 (7 including the latest) being recorded near Gatwick.

Could Have Been Worse – Has Been Worse

Although this latest incident caused a good deal of disruption, previous encounters with drones have posed more immediate and apparent danger.

In June, for example, a Loganair pilot attempting to land Edinburgh airport had to take evasive action after a drone came within only 20 metres of his plane.

Revised Code

A code (recently revised) exists in the UK to help ensure that drone pilots operate their crafts safely. The code specifically states that drones shouldn’t be flown near airfields or near aircraft, and that they should be flown below 120m (400ft) and at least 50m (150ft) away from people. This latest incident, and the fact that drones have been sighted by aircraft 12,500ft from the ground, show that not all drone pilots have read / abide by the code.

The Civil Aviation Authority has warned that flying drones near airfields carries serious punishments under law, including possible imprisonment.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Drones have found a use in many current business applications e.g. monitoring construction projects, film and TV, and the aerial photography market. They have also been tested and tipped for use in the future by e.g. Amazon for parcel deliveries. A move towards autonomous vehicles and new transport technologies means that drones currently have a bright future when used responsibly and professionally in the commercial world. Incidents such as the one at Gatwick give unwanted bad publicity to technology that has a lot of safe, cost saving, and productive uses in the right hands. It also points to the need for regulations and guidelines to be developed and revised as such new industries grow.

Charity Challenges (Snooper’s) Charter

The human rights charity has been given the go-ahead by the UK High Court to make a legal challenge against the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter, and will be enabled to do so with the help of £50,000 of crowdfunding raised earlier this year via CrowdJustice.

What Is The Snooper’s Charter?

The Snooper’s Charter is another name for the Investigatory Powers Act which became law in November 2016. It was designed to extend the reach of state surveillance in Britain. The Charter requires web and phone companies (by law) to store everyone’s web browsing histories for 12 months, and also to give the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to that data. The Charter also means that security services and police can hack into computers and phones and collect communications data in bulk, and that judges can sign off police requests to view journalists’ call and web records.

Why Challenge It?

The charity ‘Liberty’ wants to challenge the Charter on the arguments that surveillance of everybody in the UK may not be lawful or necessary, and that whistleblowers and experts have warned that the powers would actually make it more difficult for security services to do their jobs effectively.

There are also the arguments that the new law puts too much power in the state’s hands, could be and invasion of privacy, and that the government storing large amounts of sensitive information about each of us could in itself be irresponsible and a security risk.

Some critics have also expressed suspicions about the motives of the UK government for introducing the law e.g. to censor and control rather than to protect.

Helped By Recent Judgement

Liberty’s argument has been helped by the fact that last December, the European Court of Justice (in a separate case, represented by Liberty lawyers) ruled that the same powers in the old the UK state surveillance law the ‘Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act’ (DRIPA) were unlawful.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

It goes without saying that, especially in the light of the recent UK terrorist attacks, the UK’s ability to spot and foil potential plots is vital. Although the new surveillance Charter may include measures that could help with that, many people and businesses (communications companies, social media, web companies) are uneasy with the extent of the legislation and what it forces companies to do, how necessary it is, and what effect it will have on businesses publicly known to be snooping on their customers on behalf of the state. The 200,000+ signatures on a petition calling for the repeal of the Investigatory Powers Act after it became law late last year, and the £50,000 crowdfunding raised from the public in less than a week to fight the bill, both emphasise the fact that UK citizens value their privacy and take the issues of privacy and data security very seriously.

NHS Sharing Data With Google Not Compliant Says ICO

A deal which led to the sharing of healthcare records of 1.6 million patients in the UK with Google’s AI company ‘DeepMind’ has been judged by the UK data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to have not complied with the Data Protection Act.

What Deal?

Back in May 2016 a data sharing agreement between Google’s A.I. Company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust meant that Google was granted access to the information of the patients for 5 years up to 2017 of 3 London Hospitals, namely;  Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free Hospital.

The information was intended to be used by Google for the specific purpose of developing an app called ‘Streams’ to alert doctors when a person is at risk of developing acute kidney injury (AKI). NHS figures at the time showed the need for such an app because kidney injuries were believed to cause 40,000 deaths a year in the UK.

What Went Wrong?

A member of the public complained, the ICO investigation took place, and it was reportedly found that there were some shortcomings in how the data was handled e.g. some patients were not adequately informed that their data would be used as part of the deal. This led to concerns being raised about transparency for patients about how records were being used.


The Royal Free Trust originally stated that the patient data that Google would be given access would be encrypted, and that the Google DeepMind employees working on the project would not be able to identify any individuals from it.

There were also assurances that Google could not use the data in any other part of its business; that the data would be stored in the UK by a third party, and that all data will be deleted when the agreement expires at the end of September 2017.

Not Unusual

Despite concerns being raised in the media when the deal was first announced, the Royal Free NHS Trust pointed out that information sharing agreements of this kind weren’t unusual and that it was one of 1,500 agreements with third-party organisations that process NHS patient data.

Now What?

The ICO has now asked for the Trust to commit to changes which will ensure that it is acting within the law by signing an undertaking. The Trust has been asked to establish a proper legal basis under the Data Protection Act for the Google DeepMind project (and for future such projects), to complete a privacy impact assessment, to commission an audit of the trial and share the results with the ICO, and to show how it will comply with its duty of confidence to patients in any future trial involving personal data.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

If your organisation works in a medical field or develops products or services with medical applications or inputs, an agreement of this nature with the NHS or a private health company could represent an R&D opportunity. As the national data guardian Fiona Caldicot pointed out in this case, there was huge potential that creative use of data could have on patient care and clinical improvements.

This story is, however, a reminder that companies / project partners should always be very clear on the Data Protection law (and GDPR as it will be next year) before embarking on a project. It also illustrates how privacy impact assessments are an important data protection tool in digital innovation, and how, just because new technologies enable businesses to do more, it does not mean these tools should always be fully utilised. The price of innovation shouldn’t be the erosion of legally ensured fundamental privacy rights, and the costs for companies that don’t take account of this could be great.