FCA warns crypto ATM operators to close machines

The Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") has warned operators of crypto ATMs (kiosks that allow people to purchase cryptocurrencies using cash or debit card) in the UK to shut their machines down or run the risk of enforcement action. In order to offer cryptoasset exchange services in the UK, crypto ATMs must be registered with the FCA and comply with UK anti-money laundering regulations. However, the FCA notes that none of the registered cryptoasset firms have been approved to offer crypto ATM services, therefore any crypto ATM services operating in the UK are doing so illegally.

The FCA's warning comes at a time of increasing regulatory focus on cryptoassets and ensuring consumer protection. 

The Advertising Standards Agency ("ASA") and the Committee of Advertising Practice ("CAP") have also recently announced that adverts for cryptoassets are a "red alert" priority issue for the ASA and CAP. Companies advertising cryptocurrencies will need to ensure that their adverts are in line with the rules, and the ASA will be taking targeted enforcement action from 2 May 2022. Please click on these hyperlinks for information about the CAP and ASA rules.

Further information about the CAP and ASA rules can be found via the following links: 

DCMS publishes code of practice for wireless network development

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport ("DCMS") has published a new code of practice for wireless network development in England. The code provides guidance to operators, including mobile network operators and wireless infrastructure providers, their agents and contractors and local planning authorities on how to carry out their roles and responsibilities when installing wireless network infrastructure.

The code's aim is to support the government’s objective of delivering high quality wireless infrastructure whilst balancing these needs with environmental considerations. 

In particular, when considering the design and siting aspect of the expansion of wireless technology, the code advises that communication between communities, local planning authorities and operators about the proposals should be prioritised at the beginning of development, to ensure both commercial and local interests are considered. The code highlights the benefit of this is that it enables the planning authority to provide an opinion on the proposals before an application is submitted, and ensures the operator is given an opportunity to explain how the proposals will enable the expansion of wireless infrastructure.

Stakeholders involved in proposals for the installation of wireless network infrastructure will need to be mindful of the new code of practice guidance. Discussions should take place early on between the relevant parties, to ensure commercial interests are aligned with local interests. 

Case law update

In Hills v Tabe [2022] EWHC 316 (QB) (17 February 2022) the High Court awarded damages in a claim for libel and harassment relating to the posting of "unpleasant and derogatory" material about the claimant online. The High Court noted that it was right to have in mind the warnings in the case law as to the damaging potential of internet publications, due to their permanence online; in particular, website publications remain accessible in ways that hard copy publications do not, so that a person's reputation may be "damaged forever". When making his decision the Judge referred to the case of Suttle v Walker [2019] and the prolonged nature of the attack against the claimant and the targeted and spiteful nature of the comments made. The judge found that the serious harm threshold as set out in Section 1 of the Defamation Act 2013 had been met. The question was therefore one of quantum. The judge applied the well-established principles from the case of Barron v Vines and awarded the Claimant £10,000.

This follows increased scrutiny and intervention by governments and regulators regarding the harm that can be caused with online content. In 2019 the Online Harms White Paper suggested that regulatory and voluntary initiatives had not gone far enough to keep users safe online. In May 2021 a draft Online Harms Bill was published seeking to impose a 'Duty of Care' on major tech, to actively censor online content before it inflicts harm on users. Changes were subsequently introduced in the Draft Online Safety Bill in February and March 2022. 

Government consults on national Cyber-Physical Infrastructure

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy ("BEIS") has launched a consultation on the opportunities for connected physical systems and digital systems, known as 'advanced cyber-physical systems', to enable a national capability in cyber-physical infrastructure ("CPI"). The consultation document aims to present a vision for CPI in which connected networks of cyber-physical systems could provide a step change in the economic and social value of individual systems. BEIS is seeking views on the value of and options for CPI, with the aim of identifying the opportunities, challenges and possible priority areas for action including reducing risks and costs for UK innovators. The consultation ends on 11 May 2022.

The consultation is the latest in a series of national cyber / data strategies being rolled out by the UK government. It will be interesting to see the government's take on the roles of the public and private sector in relation to CPI, particularly given the growing importance of national and international cyber security.

AG's Vendor Management Tool for managing major IT contracts / projects

As IT solutions and systems become increasingly complex, so too does the challenge for businesses of managing critical IT contracts and transformation projects. The risks of getting it wrong have been highlighted by recent examples of failed IT projects which made the headlines.

To assist our clients with managing major IT contracts / projects, Addleshaw Goddard has created a Vendor Management Tool which enables clients to actively track and manage risk throughout the lifecycle of the IT contract / project. We do this with our clients by understanding the key issues and risks at each stage of the project and how to mitigate those risks, looking for warning signs of the project being in distress and then assessing the appropriate active intervention. Our Vendor Management Tool provides a framework for this process and assigns a RAG status to each project. The outcome is a succinct snapshot of a client's major IT contracts / projects which identifies what phase they are at, their risk rating and intervention action required.

If you would like to access a free copy of our Vendor Management Tool, then please do get in touch using the contact details below.

Key Contacts

Susan Garrett

Susan Garrett

Partner, Dispute Resolution
Manchester, UK

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