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Beyond our shores - October 2023 summary

Published: 23 November 2023

This is the ODPA's monthly round-up of data-related developments from around the world.


On 3 October, UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan announced plans to “ban” pupils from using mobile phones during the entire school day under new government guidance. This would apply during breaks as well as in class. However, the ban will not be statutory, which means schools can simply ignore it: School mobile phone 'ban' announced by Keegan not statutory (schoolsweek.co.uk)

On 5 October, a man who said his “AI girlfriend” encouraged him to kill the queen was detained for 9 years: Man who broke into Windsor Castle with crossbow to kill Queen jailed for nine years | Crime | The Guardian

On 6 October, MPs and campaigners called on police and private companies to stop using facial recognition surveillance: AI facial recognition: Campaigners and MPs call for ban - BBC News
On 6 October, the UK Information Commissioner issued a preliminary enforcement notice against Snap over its potential failure to properly assess the privacy risks posed by its generative AI chatbot ‘My AI’: UK Information Commissioner issues preliminary enforcement notice against Snap | ICO

On 8 October, Sky News reported that Deepfake audio of Sir Keir Starmer was released on the first day of the Labour Party conference, prompting renewed concerns about the threat AI poses to democracy: Deepfake audio of Sir Keir Starmer released on first day of Labour conference | Politics News | Sky News

On 11 October, California governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would enable residents to request that their personal information be deleted from the coffers of all the data brokers in the state. The bill, SB 362, otherwise known as the Delete Act, was introduced in April 2023 by the state senator Josh Becker in an attempt to give Californians more control over their privacy: Californians can scrub personal info sold to advertisers with first-in-US law | Technology | The Guardian

On 12 October, The Guardian reported that a federal judge in the US state of Montana (which banned TikTok in May 2023) had questioned whether the state's ban was unenforceable and unconstitutional: ‘Your argument just confuses me’: judge questions Montana TikTok ban | TikTok | The Guardian

On 13 October, the UK FCA fined Equifax Ltd £11,164,400 for failing to manage and monitor the security of UK consumer data it had outsourced to its parent company based in the US. The breach allowed hackers to access the personal data of millions of people and exposed UK consumers to the risk of financial crime: Financial watchdog fines Equifax Ltd £11 million for role in one of the largest cyber-security breaches in history | FCA

On 18 October, a cyber security researcher exploited a glitch on the CIA’s official Twitter account, to hijack a channel used for recruiting spies: Twitter glitch allows CIA informant channel to be hijacked - BBC News

On 18 October, the BBC reported that a company which enables its clients to search a database of billions of images scraped from the internet for matches to a particular face has won an appeal against the UK's privacy watchdog: Face search company Clearview AI overturns UK privacy fine - BBC News,

On 25 October, Sky News reported that while the “UK's impending Online Safety Bill aims to hold social media platforms more responsible for the content published on their platforms - but it does not extend to AI companies whose models are being altered and used to generate abusive imagery”: Paedophiles using AI to 'de-age' celebrities and 'nudify' fully clothed children | Science & Tech News | Sky News

On 25 October, a former police officer was sentenced to life in prison for blackmailing and threatening underage girls to send him explicit photos of themselves on Snapchat: Lewis Edwards: Snapchat sex abuse images police officer jailed - BBC News

On 26 October, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a speech on AI as he looked ahead to the world’s first AI Safety Summit being held at Bletchley Park in November: Prime Minister's speech on AI: 26 October 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

On 27 October, the UK Online Safety Act receives Royal Assent, becoming law. Whilst the majority of the Act’s provisions will commence in two months’ time, the UK government has already commenced key provisions to establish Ofcom as the online safety regulator from today (26 Oct), allowing them to begin preparatory work: UK children and adults to be safer online as world-leading bill becomes law - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

On 30 October, the White House announced what it called "the most significant actions ever taken by any government to advance the field of AI safety": US announces 'strongest global action yet' on AI safety - BBC News.

On 31 October, amid growing calls for schools to teach pupils about artificial intelligence (AI), BBC Young Reporters Theo and Ben have been looking at its risks and potential - and asked their classmates how they have used it to try to sharpen up their homework: 'Most of our friends use AI in schoolwork' - BBC News