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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Malta > Legal Developments > TMT ( Technology, Media & Telecoms) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum Publishes its First Thematic Report

European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum publishes its first thematic report.

Which GDPR Rules Led to Google Being Fined 50 Million Euros?

Google has just been fined 50 million euros by France’s data protection watchdog. Read our article to find out why.

Significant Number of Personal Data Breaches Reported to the Maltese Supervisory Authority Post GDPR

There have been more than 100 personal data breaches notified to the Maltese IDPC post GDPR. 17 GDPR fines have been imposed. Click below to learn more about the situation across the EU.

Artificial Intelligence: Some of the Challenges Ahead

AI promises to dominate the news in 2019. This article highlights some of the challenges ahead.

Malta: The Ultimate AI Launchpad

The Maltese government has launched its AI Strategy for public consultation, in which it declares its intentions to establish Malta as “amongst the top 10 nations with the highest impact national AI programme.”

The Predicted End of Fiat Currencies

Billionaire and crypto investor Tim Draper envisages a radical overhaul in payment systems; predicting that cryptocurrencies will replace fiat currencies within the next five years.

Immutability in a smart contract: a blessing or a curse?

Smart contracts are contracts which are written in computer code on a blockchain according to the terms set out by the parties to such contract and which are self-executing in the manner pre-determined by said code.  

Blockchain – Sifting Sense from Sensation

The whirling hype of blockchain and the race to benefit from its instant click efficiency and spiralling profitability continues to generate truckloads of excitement. It is rocking captains of industry and the maritime sector is on the front line of all the buzz.

But what really lies behind the seductive spin?

Better Legal Insights Through Technology

The legal profession has evolved at an unprecedented speed. Technology and new emerging tools harnessing artificial intelligence and data visualization all help legal professionals now uncover valuable insights. It is almost impossible to attend a conference today and not encounter multiple discussions about artificial intelligence (AI). Many in the legal profession have begun to assume—that AI is the future of law. While still in its infancy, artificial intelligence-powered tools are at a point where new insights are now possible.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY VS. GDPR: CONFLICT RESOLUTION REQUIRED

Authors;

Dr Jean-Pie Gauci-Maistre

Despoina Xynou

Dr Daniela Gaffarena

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as blockchain technology may both be lauded for having reached evolutionary milestones in their respective fields of data privacy and innovative technologies. Combining these fields is however giving rise to unprecedented concerns. Although GDPR and blockchain technology protect data, ironically data protection compliance is turning out to be significantly challenging for government agencies and private companies alike when seeking to make use of hashing technology. It is pertinent to observe that the GDPR was drafted prior to blockchain’s insurgent impact in the digital world hence any tensions between the two had not as yet been envisaged.

DRONES WITHOUT GROANS

Soaring. Flying. Whirling. Hovering. Diving. Landing. All at the press of a button.

Civil drones are the 21st century dancers in the sky. Tech savvy consumers have fallen in love with them and the romance is set to endure as technological advances have jaw-dropping models hit the market every few months. DJI Mavic 2, Mavic Air, Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 2 and Walkera Voyager 5 have fingers itching and pulses racing for more.

Gearing up for a technological revolution

Bitcoin has raised the question of whether computer code, rather than a central bank, should control the money supply. But is it desirable for society to allow a digital money system which enables its users to operate outside the remit of the law, unlike physical cash which is more regulated.

Guidelines in Relation to Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

Guidelines concerning the taxation of DLT Assets under the Income Tax Act, the VAT Act and the Duty and Documents and Transfers Act were published by the Commissioner for Revenue.

Blockchain: The Potential to change the entire economic world

The shipping industry has been given a fresh opportunity to strengthen the security of their data that could spell the end of paper documentation.  Blockchain technology promises to revolutionize container logistics by connecting the supply chain in a way the industry has never seen before. Should the technology enter operation it could also bring annual cost savings, eliminate time-consuming processes, as well as create trust and partnership to all parties involved. Blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of data which is encrypted and inherently resistant to modification, requiring confirmation from all participants in the network before any changes can be made.

The General Data Protection Regulation

the right to be forgotten in connection with the Financial Services Sector by Gauci-Maistre Xynou

Europe’s landmark data privacy law, GDPR, came into effect last May. What counts as personal data under the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation, better known as ‘GDPR’ has at its heart, the notion of ‘Personal Data’, defined in article 4 as any information which can lead to the identification of a natural person. Cyphered Information which can still lead to the identification of a person falls within the scope of this article.

Personal data can vary from the most indisputable forms of identification, such as; the name, surname, home address, date of birth, phone numbers, eye and hair colour, tax information, religious beliefs, character traits, email address (containing the name and/or surname), identification card number extending to the Internet Protocol Address, location data setting on one’s phone, as well as data held by medical experts. It is imperative to note that one cannot assume that a simple name and surname falls within the ambit of this article, considering that many people have the same name; however, if that name is combined with other information it narrows down the number of people, which could eventually lead to the identification of a particular person, giving rise to rights and obligations.

CTRL +C, CTRL +V can spell trouble by

Forget generation gap issues in our ‘Copy & Paste’ habits. Unless you don’t use a computer, copying and pasting is part of our keyboarding lives – especially when it comes to downloading images/video clips to finish off a presentation, blog/vlog post or website update. Precious time is spent scrolling down myriad visuals until ‘the one’ appears. With a Cheshire smile and a gleeful blurting of ‘YES!’ we click away without batting an eyelid.

The good news is that our search is over. The bad news is that the days of worry-free Ctrl +C, Ctrl +V are over too.

Blockchain – the backbone of tomorrow’s digital ports by

Picture the scene. An autonomous truck fully loaded with goods leaving the warehouse and arriving without a hitch at its destination almost 200 km away.

The stuff of a millennial James Bond movie? The latest commercial going viral? No, this is October 2016 when a self-driving semi-trailer heaped with Budweiser wheeled its way across the 1-25 from Fort Collins, Colorado through Denver to Colorado Springs. Surely a few beers must have high fived to celebrate the world’s first driverless commercial shipment.

IDPC fines Lands Authority for Data Breach

On the 18th of February, the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (“IDPC”) imposed a €5,000 fine on the Lands Authority after having investigated a major data breach in November 2018.

MGA Issue The De Minimis Games Directive

The Malta Gaming Authority (the ‘MGA’) has issued a new directive, The De Minimis Games Directive, Directive 3 of 2019 (the “Directive”) which aims to exempt small lotteries and/or raffles from the regulatory regime, which would otherwise be applicable.

Google hit with €50 Million fine over GDPR Violation

On the 25th May 2018, the same day on which the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into effect, complaints were filed against Google by two groups which advocate for privacy rights. The complaints were filed in France with the French data protection authority, the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (“CNIL”). The complaints alleged that Google did not have a valid legal basis to process user data for the purpose of ad personalization.

Government Surveillance - Watchful Protector or Immoral Spy?

European Court of Human Rights finds that UK government breached the right to privacy of virtually all UK citizens due to government mass surveillance systems which intercepted tremendous amounts of data via citizens’ communications.

Extension for Reduced Rate of Stamp Duty on the Transfer of a Family Business

Extension on the reduced rate of duty for family business transfers.

Foundations and Cryptos

Maltese foundations can be used to issue tokens and carry out trading activities resulting from such operations.

Virtual Financial Asset Act and Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act

The Virtual Financial Asset Act and the Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act to come into force in Malta on the 1st November 2018.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority to issue a set of guidance notes

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority to issue a set of guidance notes aimed at assisting service providers and innovative technology arrangements applicants.

The Malta Digital Innovation Authority issues guidelines on Resident Agents

The MDIA issues a consultation paper on guidelines applicable to resident agents.

ICO IMPOSES EUR224,000 FINE FOR ‘BCC’/’CC’/’TO’ BLUNDER

In imposing the significant fine as a result of the data breach, the UK’s ICO found, among other things, that the IICSA (which erroneously sent a bulk email using the ‘TO’ field instead of the ‘BCC’ field) failed to make use of an email account that could send separate messages to each participant and also failed to provide its staff with appropriate training and guidance.

MFSA issues consultation paper with the Financial Services Industry

MFSA issues consultation with the financial services industry regarding VFA Regulations to be issued under the VFA Act.

DLT Exchanges Under the Newly Enacted VFA Act

Malta approves legislation regulating crypto exchanges.

Maltese Parliament has unanimously approved second reading of all three Cryptocurrency/Blockchain/DL

Maltese Parliament unanimously approves second reading of all three Crypto-currency Bills.

Malta Ahead of the Game: Three cryptocurrency and blockchain Bills passed the second reading stage

During a conference organised by the Malta Institute of Management, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri, announced that the three crypto-related bills, namely the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill, the Innovation Technological Arrangements and Services Bill, and the Virtual Financial Assets Bill will pass through the second reading in Parliament, and in fact yesterday evening the Maltese Parliament finalised the second reading stage. The bills will now move on to the committee stage and then on to the third reading stage. Once the third reading in parliament is concluded the bills will then be presented to the President of Malta for her assent and become law.

MALTA - ICOs THE NEW LEGISLATION

A. INTRODUCTION

Initial Coin Offering, known as “ICO”, is a relatively new phenomenon that has quickly become the main player in the Financial Services and Crowdfunding industries, as well as being the key subject of discussion in the Blockchain communities. In essence, it is one of the most advanced methods of raising finance from the public and is becoming increasingly popular to fundraise start-ups.

While all jurisdictions are shying away from regulating this industry, Malta has recently introduced a specific regulatory framework for ICOs and has become the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate ICOs and Blockchain Technology.

This publication in fact seeks to give an overview of the recent laws and regulations relating to ICOs.

Telecoms & Media in Malta | 2018 GTDT Edition

Communications policy

Regulatory and institutional structure

Summarise the regulatory framework for the communications sector. Do any foreign ownership restrictions apply to communications services?

The regulatory framework for telecommunications in Malta is based on the following primary and secondary legislation:

Lexology 2018 Q&A Report on Data Security & Cybercrime in Malta

Jurisdiction snapshot

Trends and climate

Would you consider your national data protection laws to be ahead or behind of the international curve?

Malta has been proactive in the implementation and development of its national data protection legal framework and is fully compliant with EU standards and best practice. Accordingly, Malta is a member of the EU Article 29 Data Protection Working Party and actively and periodically ensures that all of its policies and best practices are in line with those established by the working party.

The Virtual Financial Assets Act and the legal framework for Virtual Financial Asset Exchanges

Second Reading in Parliament for Blockchain Bills: The Virtual Financial Assets Act and the legal framework for Virtual Financial Asset Excha

The Virtual Financial Assets Act and the legal framework for ICO’s

Second Reading in Parliament for Blockchain Bills: The Virtual Financial Assets Act and the legal framework for ICO’s

Second Reading in Parliament for Blockchain Bills: The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act

Second Reading in Parliament for Blockchain Bills: The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act

The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act

Second Reading in Parliament for Blockchain Bills: The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act

MGA launches guidance on DLT and VC use through sandbox approach.

Malta Gaming Authority on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology and on the acceptance of Virtual Currencies in the remote gaming industry.

European Commission gives nod of approval to the Maltese Tonnage Tax Scheme

The European Commission has approved the revised Maltese tonnage tax scheme (exemption) under EU State rules for a period of 10 years, after an investigation and review lasting more than five years.

Regulatory framework in Malta on Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technology & Virtual Currencies

The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation has issued a public consultation document on the 17th February 2018 regulating the proposed establishment of an Authority to be known as the Malta Digital Innovation Authority ('MDIA'),

SEC and CFTC hearing on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology

Earlier this month the United States Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met in open session to conduct a hearing entitled 'Virtual Currencies:

Keep Track of the Latest WP29 Guidelines & Opinions Relating to the GDPR

Keep Track of the Latest WP29 Guidelines & Opinions Relating to the GDPR by Visiting Mamo TCV’s Dedicated GDPR Microsite.

Binance, largest crypto currency exchange announces move to Malta

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges by trade value, is to set up offices in Malta as was announced by Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng.

The European Commissions’s take on a European Data Economy

MOVING TOWARDS THE CONCEPT OF A EUROPEAN DATA ECONOMY

Digital data is a fundamental resource for economic progress, job creation, citizen empowerment, competitiveness, and business development. The European Union (EU) must guarantee that data flows across borders and sectors. This data should be available and reusable by stakeholders in an efficient manner and supplemented by superior computing capabilities to scrutinise such data. Indeed, the utilisation of intelligent data supports the production of brand-new products and services, the continued development of such production, the growth of the target market, and the strengthening of research and development.

Blockchain Technology & the Law: Myriad Business Opportunities

 What is Blockchain?

Blockchain can be described as a digital database or ledger which is shared between a network of computers. The premise of blockchain, as well as its distinctive feature, is that it works on distributed trustless consensus. Each transaction entered into the ledger (known as a block) is connected to the block before it and the block after it, creating a chain of transactions which is traceable back to the original transaction.

GDPR Administrative Fines: New Guidelines Recently Adopted

On 25 May 2018, Regulation 2016/679, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect across the European Union (including Malta). As has been widely reported, infringement of the GDPR may lead to fines as high as €20,000,000 or 4% of an entity's total worldwide annual turnover (whichever is higher). 

Cryptocurrencies in Malta – A Legal Perspective

 Explaining Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies (also referred to as virtual currencies) are a form of digital currency which utilise encryption techniques for security. The same cryptography techniques are used in order to verify transactions involving virtual coins, and further coins are generated using complex mathematical algorithms in a process termed 'mining'.

Confirmed: Employers Should Not Use Consent as a Legal Basis for Processing Employee Personal Data

On 8 June 2017, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party ("WP29") adopted Opinion 2/2017 on data processing at work ("the Opinion") ​[1]. This authoritative document complements previous WP29 publications on similar issues ​​​​​[2]. The Opinion now takes into account new technologies that affect the processing of employees' personal data at work. Moreover, the Opinion takes into account both the Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC) that is still in force at time of writing – transposed into Maltese legislation via the present Data Protection Act[3]​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ – as well as the EU General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") that will enter into force on 25 May 2018. The GDPR will repeal and replace Directive 95/46/EC and the Maltese Data Protection Act ("DPA") on such date.

MFSA ISSUES CIRCULAR TO COMPLIANCE OFFICERS OF INVESTMENT SERVICES LICENCE HOLDERS

The Securities and Markets Supervision Unit has recently carried out a thematic review consisting of a desk based review of the best execution policies and procedures and an onsite visit at a number of licensed investment firmsin order to access their implemented Best Execution policies and procedures.

How Businesses Will Be Affected by the New Cybersecurity Directive

Cyber security is a prominent issue on the EU’s digital agenda. Many governments and companies are vulnerable to cyber security threats. 

Malta: A Hub for e-Commerce, Digital Games & Online Gambling in Europe

Whilst Malta’s history, sun and sea might be a good reason for tourists to come to the island, they are surely complementary but not the sole reasons to attract prospective e-commerce and gaming operators to Malta. Indeed, to the gaming and e-commerce world, Malta represents more than that. 

Being a niche for ground breaking technological solutions, having reliable laws, providing fiscal advantages and a stable environment, Malta is one of the fastest growing information and communications technology markets in Europe quickly continuing its growth as a hub for e-commercedigital gaming and online gambling.

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