Our lawyers are dedicated to serving as trusted advisers and defenders of companies that depend on technological innovation. We have significant experience helping clients address Big Data legal issues surrounding the analysis, collection and use of the massive data sets being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications. The digitization of the physical world, commercial relationships, consumer interactions and supply chain management presents enormous opportunities, but poses novel legal challenges. New technologies driven by data have inspired concerns among regulators and plaintiffs regarding privacy, cybersecurity, tort duties to warn, digital discrimination, data retention and the related potential eDiscovery issues. The ever-increasing “connectedness” of devices and sensors to the Internet has radically amplified the field of potential issues. In particular, new regulation in the European Union (EU) regarding “profiling” and automated decision-making, and potentially large fines imposed by EU member states, are ratcheting up the level of focus on Big Data, IoT and AI applications deployed by multinational companies.
Communications, Internet, insurance, life sciences, financial services and other companies face a slew of new challenges in research, business operations and manufacturing. Our practice is keenly aware of both the promise and peril of technological innovation. Clients frequently turn to us regarding the issues inherent in using large data sets to design new offerings, spot fraud, address national security requests and ensure compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-digital redlining requirements. In addition, major communications companies rely upon our team to help address privacy, data security, consumer protection, and other litigation and regulatory challenges stemming from the enormous data sets they process. Consumer Internet providers have asked us to help them address inquiries from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state Attorneys General regarding the alleged misuse of data from their products. And industrial Internet companies turn to us with issues ranging from supply chain management to sensors on large industrial machines—the “Internet of Very Large Things.”
The development of the law in this area has lagged behind the exceptional pace of technological change. We regularly help clients navigate the complex uncertainties created by the legal developments coming from a variety of regulators, including the FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and EU Data Protection Authorities, among others.
How We Add Value
The issues our clients face require innovative, strategic and cost-effective legal counseling. We advise companies on a range of data protection issues, including how data sets are collected, compiled, analyzed and used. Our work includes:
- Development of ethical data stewardship governance models
- Regulatory counseling for some of the most advanced data science companies that run proprietary algorithms to reveal nonintuitive actionable insights for their customers
- Legal counseling for companies that repurpose data, collect adverse event data and develop complex IT infrastructures that support the transfer and interrogation of large-scale data sets
Recent matters include representing:
- A major technology company in responding to a significant FTC investigation concerning the interface of Internet technology and data usage practices
- A major technology company regarding global digital policies, including data localization, encryption, government access to software code and related technology policy matters
- A large, multinational and diversified healthcare company on de-identification and the creation of Big Data sets for healthcare research
- A large insurance carrier on issues, including product design, governance protocols, cybersecurity preparation, incident response planning and privacy related to Big Data
- A leading online merchant by providing guidance on the future of personalization in a world of Big Data
- Several major telecom, technology and manufacturing companies, including auto manufacturers, on various aspects of Big Data analytics
- Several automotive manufacturers on a variety of data privacy and security issues, including, but not limited to, the company’s social media policies, mobile application development, promotional activities, employee issues, debt collection practices, and data storage and destruction issues
- A consumer-facing company before the FTC regarding Internet-connected security devices
- Clients in analyzing innovative uses of set-top box information for potential marketing purposes
- Payment card companies in the development of new products that lead to actionable consumer insight
- Data scientists on the privacy and data protection issues that arise during analysis of large data sets for their commercial customers
Recognition for Our Practice
Our lawyers have earned industry recognition as premier practitioners, focusing on issues of privacy, security and the law governing information. The Legal 500 has recognized Sidley in its new Cyber law category, in addition to our long-standing Tier 1 ranking for “Technology: data protection and privacy.” Sidley has also been recognized for years by both Chambers Global and Chambers USA for our privacy and data protection work.