The Internet of Things (IoT): Helpful or Harmful?
The outstanding progression of technology in the 21st Century has resulted in the phenomenon known as ‘the Internet of Things’; whereby devices can connect via the internet in order to communicate not only with us, but also with each other. The aim is to create a smarter way of life.
Many devices are already available to consumers, such as smart TVs, smart cars and smart phones. We can even control heating at home using our phones in order to lead a more cost effective life. However, ethical, legal and security issues surrounding these innovative devices remain for consideration.
With the vast amount of data collected through the numerous devices that communicate with one another via the Internet there comes an increased risk of security breaches, including data leaks or threat from external networks/hackers.
This problem is furthered by the fact that technology is advancing faster than that of the security techniques, meaning that many existing security measures are now insufficient for the application to IoT.
Due to the personal nature of the information processed by IoT devices, the data can provide substantial insights into an individual’s movements, preferences and activities. For example, take an IoT boiler attachment, which self-regulates its temperature by connecting to your phone (so that the boiler knows when you are home or away, and awake or asleep). From this, we can work out when a house is likely to be empty, and therefore more vulnerable to crimes such as burglary.
Furthermore, doctors use IoT technology to hold vital information on patients in order to prescribe their required medication; should this information be hacked, the consequences could be life threatening. Whilst these examples may be extreme, they highlight the severe consequences that could occur as a result of a security breach.
Data protection goes hand in hand with security risks. Under the current data protection regime there is greater emphasis on the protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage of data information. This increased scrutiny of how our personal data is protected should put pressure on designers and manufacturers of IoT devices to ensure that security provisions are up to date and effectively take into account the type of data and the risk and consequences presented by IoT devices. The EU Commissioner’s report already recommends that IoT devices are designed from the onset with privacy and data principles in mind, such as the right of deletion and the right to be forgotten.
With companies potentially holding this vast collection of data and information about IoT users and their habits, there is an opportunity (and temptation) to generate additional revenue by selling the same to third parties, including advertising agencies. For example, by tracking our likes and dislikes, advertisements can be tailored to a certain individual. Likewise, there have been speculations that phones are listening to our conversations and device cameras are watching in the background, but many operators have denied this.
Ultimately, whilst advertising may be a useful way to learn about products or experiences, the way in which advertisers gain information about us has the potential to breach ethical guidelines.
There is an undeniable increased reliance on technology to automate our lives. The problem arises when determining liability. For example, who is at fault if technology fails or gets something wrong, or hackers breach the security of the IoT device and cause damage in the real world? Is the user or the provider or someone else entirely liable? It would then also be necessary to consider whether or not the matter would be a criminal or civil offense; however the law has yet to catch up.
The question stands as to whether IoT is innovative (in the way that it helps to facilitate an easier modern way of life), or dangerous (due to the many legal, ethical and security implications associated with technological advances). What is clear is the concern of how security provisions and the law can keep up with rapid technological advances.
Post Study Visa to return!
There will apparently be a new UK post-study work visa for Tier 4 visa international students graduating from British universities. It will be available for two years from 2020, the government has announced.
The importance of NHS Continuing Healthcare for Financial Advisers
The FTAdviser reports this week on the risk of litigation if a financial adviser has failed to consider all of the possible options for funding an individual’s care fees, including NHS Continuing Healthcare.
Care fees can be expensive, particularly where an individual requires more complex interventions, or an intense level of support. Where they have assets above the threshold to qualify for a contribution from the local authority and are self-funding, they, or their families, may turn to a financial adviser for advice on making their money last.
NHS Continuing Healthcare is a complete package of ongoing care arranged and funded by the NHS for individuals found to have significant, ongoing healthcare needs as a result of an accident, disability or illness. Unlike local authority funding, NHS Continuing Healthcare is not means tested. For those who are eligible, it means that their care fees will be met in full by the NHS. If they are living in a care home, the NHS will make a contract with the provider to pay the fees in full, including all accommodation and care. Where the individual is receiving care at home, the NHS will fund an appropriate package of support designed to meet their health and personal care needs.
Not everyone will qualify for this type of funding and there is a robust assessment process that must be completed. Eligibility depends on whether or not it can be shown that the individual has a primary health need, i.e that the main aspects of the care they require are primarily to address health needs and/or prevent deterioration to their health.
The primary health need test is set out in a National Framework which governs the principles and processes of NHS Continuing Healthcare and provides guidance to support the staff who are involved in the assessment process. The test looks at whether the nursing or health services required by the individual are more than incidental or ancillary to the provision of accommodation and whether the services provided go beyond that which a local authority would usually be expected to provide.
Sadly, there are still a number of misconceptions about NHS Continuing Healthcare around and individuals are often told that they will not qualify for this type of funding without a full assessment of their needs taking place. This may be because of the previous experience of well-meaning carers, or hospital staff, who have developed their views based on their own limited experiences rather than on a detailed knowledge of the Framework.
In addition, there are many individuals who are not awarded NHS Continuing Care following assessment who should be entitled to full funding.
At Moore Blatch we specialise in assisting individuals and their families with the assessment process to ensure that the assessment is robust and takes into account all of that person’s care and support needs. Alternatively, if the NHS has decided not to fund an individual’s care, we can also advise on the prospects of making a successful appeal or challenge, supporting them and their families throughout the whole process.
NHS continuing Healthcare is not guaranteed for life and individuals who are eligible will be reviewed annually to ensure that their care needs continue to be met appropriately.
We work closely with advisers to consider the merits of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding both now and in the future.
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about our service, including how we can offer your clients a free, no obligation initial screening assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
Know Your Numbers! Week 2019
All this week is Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know Your Numbers! Week’ which is about raising awareness of the importance of blood pressure monitoring and health benefits.
High blood pressure is something some of us unknowingly live with. It is something that can go unnoticed as there are usually no symptoms. So, getting your blood pressure checked regularly is important.
What is normal blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and 2 figures are given. The first is systolic pressure which measures pressure when the heart beats. The second is diastolic pressure which is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.
High blood pressure is known as hypertension, this means your heart is working harder to pump blood. An ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or higher and low blood pressure is 90/60mmHg or lower.
Open Sight Hampshire Petition for Mandatory Eye Tests for Children
You may have seen coverage on BBC South this week regarding Open Sight Hampshire’s petition to make it mandatory for all children to have an eye test before starting school.
Open Sight, Hampshire’s principal charity for the visually impaired, have explained the reasons for the petition as follows:
“Shockingly, 12% of children in the UK aged 5 start school with an undetected problem with their vision because there is no compulsory eye test currently in place – this must change.
Good vision promotes better learning. Children need good eyesight to fulfil their potential and get the most from school, activities, learning and friendships. Eye tests for children are free but many parents don’t take advantage of this as they assume that schools provide an eye test.
Compulsory pre-school eye tests would alleviate these problems as with the case of pre-school booster vaccinations, all parents must be invited to take their children for an eye test before they start school.”
At Moore Blatch we know how important it is that eye conditions are diagnosed in a timely fashion, and this is particularly important for children, as they may not realise there is a problem, or know to raise the issue. Issues with their eyesight can delay children’s development and progress at school.
Whilst the NHS recommends vision screening for children aged 4 to 5 years, currently this is optional. If an issue with vision is identified, then the child may be referred to a hospital or local eye service, or to an optician, to get the treatment and support that they need.
Eye tests can identify specific problems such as lazy eye (amblyopia), misalignment of eyes, difficulty focusing, and colour blindness. Some conditions such as lazy eye are associated with a better outcome if treated sooner, whilst children’s eyesight is still developing.
Through our work representing victims of medical negligence, we see the impact that a delay in diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions can have on patients, and so we welcome Open Sight’s campaign.
You can find the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/the-department-for-health-and-social-care-every-child-to-have-an-eye-test-before-they-start-school
What if my partner tries to hide money in our divorce proceedings?
It is not uncommon for spouses to be worried that their ex will try to hide assets, or lie about the true extent of their income or investments, when it comes to a financial settlement alongside divorce proceedings. This can particularly be a worry for, typically, a wife who has been a stay-at home mum or part-time worker who has left the management of the family finances to her husband. She feels in the dark and vulnerable as she does not know, or not the full extent of, what they have got as a family and/or whether there are any liabilities.
There is an obligation in family law cases dealing with resolving divorcing couples’ financial claims of full and frank financial disclosure. This is an on-going duty so if you, for example, receive a pay rise or an inheritance etc. as the proceedings go along this must be made known to your spouse and his/her legal advisers.
A recent case called Moher v Moher  EWCA Civ 1482 emphasises that the court does not tolerate a failure to disclose fully and frankly your financial circumstances upon divorce. In this case the husband failed to provide full and frank financial disclosure and was penalised by having to pay just over £52,000 towards the wife’s costs. The court found that when it cannot know with certainty what all of the assets are due to non-disclosure it can, if it deems it appropriate, infer that there are sufficient resources to make an award anyway. In this case the wife was awarded £1.4 million. The husband had suggested that the wife should receive £960,000 whilst the wife sought a lump sum of £1.5 million. The wife’s case was that “what the husband disclosed and the values disclosed are likely to represent a significant undervalue of the true extent of the assets”.
The case is a reminder that failure to be honest and open about your financial resources when getting divorced has serious consequences. Honesty is definitely the best policy.
Where there is a mutual trust between the couple it also means it is much more likely that they will be able to resolve things in a much more amicable and dignified fashion, as opposed to expensive, stressful and risky court proceedings. More constructive and amicable options for resolving matters are mediation or the collaborative process which I always encourage my clients to consider. I am a trained family mediator and collaborative lawyer so these outside of court options are always something I discuss with my clients at the outset. They provide a forum for frank discussions in a supported environment and hopefully ensure that future relationships can be preserved, which is especially important if there are children.
For more information please contact Sarah French.
Data Protection – How to deal with Subject Access Requests?
Rudd v Bridle
Following the arrival of GDPR there has been a notable increase in the number of subject access requests (SARs) whereby individuals have made formal requests to receive details of the personal data held on them by a business. As these requests can be time-consuming and expensive to deal with, it is no surprise that businesses have been seeking to minimise their efforts responding to a SAR.
The recent important decision in
Rudd v Bridle has examined the whole area of SARs and a number of important principles have been confirmed:
- Who is the data controller in relation to personal data? The simple answer is that this is the party who ultimately decides the purposes and manner in which personal data is being processed – in this case, the court decided that the facts pointed clearly to Mr Bridle being the data controller and not his company – his had important implications as the final court order made was against Mr Bridle personally;
- No right to receive documentation – the person making a SAR has no right to receive documents, but only a right to receive the information comprising his/her personal data –accordingly, businesses can feel emboldened to reject requests for documents;
- What type of information is covered by the term “personal data”? The court decided that the identity of recipients of information relating to the individual making a SAR can be part of the relevant personal data and subject to disclosure where this information is significant in a biographical sense and where its main focus is the individual making the SAR – consequently, “personal data” can be an elastic concept and is not limited to the personal attributes of an individual;
- Withholding information relating to third parties – although the relevant legislation allows certain information relating to third parties to be withheld in certain circumstances, the court was at pains to point out that this did not provide a blanket ban on any third party information being disclosed at all and criticised Mr Bridle for his attempts to do so;
- Exemptions from responding to a SAR – Mr Bridle’s attempts to avoid responding further to the initial SAR were based on the journalistic, regulatory activity and legal privilege exemptions and, in each case, the court held that the exemptions did not apply and that in order to rely upon them, the recipient of a SAR had to have clear evidence that they applied;
- Was the initial SAR response adequate? This was the only issue where the court found in favour of Mr Bridle: as long as the SAR is reasonably intelligible, there was no additional requirement to provide complete paragraphs or sentences in making a response – short, factual statements/comments would be sufficient.
Businesses on the receiving end of a SAR need to be particularly aware of the fact there is a potential risk to directors who could incur personal liability if found to be the data controller and they also need to realise that “personal data” can have a surprisingly wide scope. At the same time, businesses should be comforted by the fact that there is a clear ruling that the SAR does not entitle the individual to receive actual documents.
Agricultural Estate Planning Archers Style – How NOT to do it!
Here at Moore Blatch, we love wealth protection – so it always raises a smile when others are equally fascinated by the topics we adore. Thanks to Radio 4’s The Archers, it seems the whole country will be riveted by such issues for a few weeks to come.
The stability of Bridge Farm is where the recent fascination with estate planning can be considered to have begun. The arrival of Natasha as Tom’s girlfriend and then wife, has certainly shaken things up.
However, given the pace with which the relationship progressed, will the marriage last? Pat seems to have realised the potential difficulties, not least given Natasha’s disappearance for a few weeks after the wedding. Added to that was the emotional impact even suggesting a post-nuptial agreement (or a pre-nuptial agreement) can have, with Tom in particular initially taking offence before eventually relenting. That said, the storyline has gone quiet for a few weeks now. Are there more twists and turns to come? Or has the important protection issue been forgotten?
Natasha’s arrival in Tom’s life has had another impact in the way she has allowed Tom to progress his ideas for Bridge-Fresh. On this face of it, this great news. However, the doom-mongers amongst us can only be worried. Given that Bridge-Fresh has been set up as a separate commercial entity with only Tom and Natasha as shareholders, Bridge-Fresh’s success is double-edged. Bridge Fresh’s success means that an essential part of Bridge Farm’s future is as a separate commercial entity. Such steps can be sensible both for present-day commercial reasons and in terms of estate planning, but real care must be taken when setting up such structures. One can’t help but worry for Tony and Pat and the future of Bridge Farm when Bridge Fresh has been put in place with seemingly little thought, and with the ever-indebted Natasha as a partner.
Time will tell how this story pans out, but the future doesn’t look good. More importantly, it may well end up highlighting the significant problems that can arise when estate planning isn’t fully thought through. The Archers’ wealth has existed for generations (admittedly with some ups and downs), but will it continue?
More widely, Ambridge is buzzing with news of Peggy’s Ambridge Conservation Trust, not least due to the £500,000 on offer for the winning proposal. No one can doubt Peggy’s good intentions in setting up a charitable trust to enhance the environment for future generations, and we have heard of her team of advisors that have helped set up the trust. But, here too, concerns abound. Was it a good idea for irrepressible Lillian to be appointed CEO during a party when in drink and seemingly unable to say no to her mother? Additionally, Adam’s private discussions with Lilian about his bid could mean further trouble is in store.
Trusts can be incredibly useful tools for wealth protection, but one can sense that the charitable trust is set for trouble, not least given the way its terms have been altered so anyone in Ambridge can apply! As with Estate Planning, taking sound advice before setting up a trust can mitigate against future issues arising. If only Peggy had come to Moore Blatch first for advice!
Now, there’s just the need to speak to our Regulatory team about assistance for Ed Grundy with his questionable fertiliser issues and our Family team about the burgeoning relationship between Jill and Leonard!
They may make for good drama, but the issues being highlighted in The Archers are very real, effecting agricultural estates and businesses throughout the UK. We at Moore Blatch have specialists in estate planning (agricultural or otherwise), tax, and wealth management generally. Don’t get yourself into the difficulties the Archers are setting up for themselves – we’re ready and willing to help.
Are you liable for an employee’s Facebook post?
Forbes v LHR Airport Ltd