Here is a quick round-up of recent and upcoming EU and domestic tech related legislation:
Ireland - Communications (Retention of Data) (Amendment) Act 2022
The Communications (Retention of Data) (Amendment) Act 2022 was signed into law on 21 July 2022. It aims to overhaul the application and scope of the data retention and data access regime that had been set out in the 2011 Act of the same name and which the European Court of Justice had found was contrary to EU law.
The 2022 Act was introduced with some haste and has been criticised by a number of stakeholders for the lack of legislative oversight which was afforded to the Bill during its passage through the Oireachtas. The Minister for Justice has not yet made any commencement orders and furthermore has indicated an intention to bring further legislation later this year to provide a more consolidated legal framework to this important area.
EU – Better Enforcement and Modernisation Directive
The EU Better Enforcement and Modernisation Directive (2019/2161) came into force on 28 May 2022. This Directive clarifies the position on misleading consumer reviews and prohibits the selling, buying and submission of fake reviews in order to promote products.
The Directive also requires EU Member States to impose clear obligations on marketplaces to provide information to consumers about fake consumer reviews.
EU – Digital Services Act
The Digital Services Act (DSA) was officially adopted by the European Parliament in July 2022 and will most likely be adopted by the Council of the EU on 29 September 2022.
The DSA aims to (i) provide EU consumers with greater protection against illegal online content, (ii) clarify the rules that apply to intermediaries and (iii) aims to ensure a coherent legal approach across EU jurisdictions. Once adopted, the DSA will become directly applicable across the EU either 15 months after the date of adoption or from 01 January 2024 (whichever comes later). The obligations on what are defined as "very large online platforms or search engines" will apply from an earlier date.
EU – Digital Markets Act
The EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) was enacted on 12 October 2022 and will come into force on 12 April 2023. It will impose obligations on the largest tech firms with the objective of creating fairer business environments and encouraging competition. This Act is aimed at "gatekeeper" firms which are those offering "core platform services". This includes social networks, search engines and video sharing platforms which meet specific turnover and user base thresholds.
The DMA will place obligations on gatekeepers and grant the EU Commission significant enforcement powers for non-compliance.
EU – Artificial Intelligence Act
The European Commission is grappling with creating a legal framework to regulate the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The aim of this framework is to be "human centric" and to focus on the use and abuse of technology in a wide sense. As presently constituted, the draft Regulation identifies certain prohibited AI practices and proposes a strict regime of high risk AI systems as well as a more graduated risk based approach for lower risk AI systems.
Ireland - Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2022
This Bill seeks to promote online safety to be overseen by the newly established Media Commission. The Bill also intends to implement a number of other legislative reforms including the transposition of the revised audio-visual media services directive and providing for the crossover between the regulation of traditional broadcasting and video on demand services. The Bill is currently before Dáil Éireann, Third Stage.
Ireland - Cyber Security Bill
This Bill aims to establish the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on a strategy basis and provide for related matters including clarity around the mandate and role of the NCSC. Work is currently underway on the Bill, which has not yet been published.
Ireland - Cyber Crime Bill This Bill is intended to give effect to those provisions in the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime 2001 which have not already been provided for in National Law in order to enable Ireland to ratify that convention. Work is currently underway on the Bill, which has not yet been published.
Ireland - Civil Registration (Electronic Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths) Bill
This Bill aims to make legislative provision to register births, marriages and deaths electronically. Heads of Bill are in preparation.