Data use: Protecting a critical resource

Described by some as the “new oil” for the digital economy, there is no doubt that data are now seen as critical for organisations to succeed. Data are a powerful and lucrative fuel for productivity. If not adequately protected, data are vulnerable to leaks that can cause widespread damage, and their true value is only realised once they have been processed and refined. They are, however, an almost infinite resource when compared with the finite supply of oil.

Data affect all businesses and industries, and dealing with data is an issue for the whole business as it affects every team within an organisation. In this article we examine:

  • Market trends in the ballooning use of data worldwide.
  • Some of the legal implications of dealing with data, particularly in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (679/2016/EU) (GDPR) which will apply from 25 May 2018, including in particular, GDPR compliance, cyber security and employee monitoring.

Click here for the full briefing.

A version of this article was first published as the lead feature in the January/February 2018 issue of PLC Magazine.

Continue reading

Big Data Regulation: Coming soon to a business like yours?

The Financial Times recently referred to Big Data as “a vague term for a massive phenomenon that has rapidly become an obsession with entrepreneurs, scientists, governments and the media“. And it does seem to appear from the headlines that there isn’t a real world situation that Big Data cannot be applied to – for example, in the aftermath of the recent US General Election, questions have been asked to whether there was a failure of Big Data to accurately predict the result.

The reference to a “vague term” also seems to be in keeping with the various different definitions of Big Data quoted in the market. The data protection regulator in the UK refers to Big Data as “a way of analysing data that typically uses massive datasets, brings together data from different sources and can analyse the data in real time. It often uses personal data, be that looking at broad trends in aggregated sets of data or creating detailed profiles in relation to individuals, for example lending or insurance decisions“.

But however it is defined, it seems that there is a Big Data opportunity for business not just in how much data an organisation has, but in how it can use that data to save time and money, develop new products, manage risk and make smarter strategic decisions. This opportunity is only likely to increase as more activity is conducted online, and technology solutions such as the internet of things further increases the amount of data being collected.

The meteoric rise of Big Data has not however only presented opportunities for business. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has also caught the attention of various sectoral and cross-sector regulators, looking to ensure that the use of Big Data technology does not negatively impact consumers or otherwise circumnavigate existing legal protections and regulations. In this article, we will look at a few of the different regulators examining the Big Data phenomenon to investigate the theory that Big Data technology has created a perfect storm of regulatory activity for business. Continue reading