Big Data & Technology

What is big data?

Big data refers to high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety assets (data) which are processed by computing software using a variety of algorithms and artificial intelligence in order to produce specific data. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in both the development and the usage of big data technology, particularly in the commercial sphere.

Big data is utilised in a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, MedTech and life sciences, insurance, the public sector and many more.

There are many legal implications for Big Data Technologies:

Data Protection

Any technology that focuses on the production, collection and utilisation of personal data will give rise to data protection implications as well as data governance and data ethics concerns.

Those involved will need to be mindful of:

  • the type of data that will be processed – in particular special category data;
  • the purpose of obtaining the data – use limitation issues;
  • the method of obtaining the data – what lawful basis was used; and
  • the how the data is used and stored – what security is attached and what oversight & governance is applied.

Understanding the type of data you are processing is significant given that this will have an upon which data protection requirements will apply. We can help you assess the purposes and types of data being processed to ensure that processors comply with the relevant rules. Given that high volumes of data are being processed, where any breaches of data protection laws occur, the sanctions can be serious.

Data processors also need to be aware of specific provisions for big data, including profiling and transparency. There are specific rules under data protection laws and guidance to ensure transparency and that data subjects' rights are not being infringed.

Data processors should seek legal advice where required to ensure they comply with the relevant rules. This includes seeking advice before gathering data and for ongoing compliance. In particular, we can assist by providing advice and assistance, including creating standard policies and procedures to standardise the process and ensure compliance with the rules.

Other legal concerns include intellectual property and competition law.

Our experience

Our data protection and cyber security lawyers have extensive experience advising clients on data protection compliance, including compliance with domestic law and EU law on data protection.

Our clients operate across a wide range of sectors, including charities and the third sector, logistics, manufacturing, health and life sciences, media and pension schemes. Our team also has experience in advising clients on various competition law matters.

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