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Industrial and non-personal data: Building blocks of emerging technologies

Data is a vital asset for almost all businesses.  In many cases it is fundamental to profitability and survival. Many businesses now have a mature understanding of the regulatory and commercial imperatives applicable to personal data, but may have not developed the same degree of data literacy in relation to industrial and non-personal data.

Managing, and extracting value from, such data can be a significant challenge. The increasing complexity of data capture, control, management, and analytics in the digital economy could well overwhelm businesses who are not sufficiently data literate.  For example:

  • Ownership: data are intangible and can be copied and used by multiple businesses, and (with some exceptions) at the moment generally fall outside the scope of property law in common law jurisdictions, leading to difficult questions in relation to ownership.
  • Combining data: data can be combined with, or interact with, other data to make new, derived data, which can be used to drive, or to be manipulated, by software or algorithms (such as artificial intelligence (AI)) in order to produce a variety of outcomes. The transformable nature of data can lead to new contractual and liability issues.
  • Governance: the imperative for better data governance by businesses is likely to increase, driven in part by potential business partners, business and consumer clients, and by law.

Accordingly there is potentially a large range of issues a business will need to consider when dealing with industrial and non-personal data.  For example, how can businesses control  and protect such data, use third party data, minimise risks in deploying data, value and monetise such data, and comply with rules and regulations applicable to (non-personal) data?

 

What do we cover?

With the object of outlining the main issues a business should be mindful of in relation to protecting its data as an asset, working with partners using or monetising data and managing risks specific to data, we examine the following in more detail:

  • The importance and increasing use of data
  • The nature of data, ownership, and control
  • Ways of protecting data
  • Disruptive technology data
  • The regulatory environment for data
  • Regulated data activities
  • Antitrust / competition law data issues
  • Contractual considerations in sharing data
  • Managing data
  • Liability issues specific to dealing in data

We discuss the legal position in a number of jurisdictions, using them as case studies, in order to illustrate principles of more general application in relation to industrial and non-personal data (given the breadth of laws potentially applicable, we do not attempt to state the law exhaustively in relation to such data for those jurisdictions). We do not address issues specific to personal data.

Local law advice should always be sought in relation to any data project.

 

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