Personal Data as an Asset Class: Making money and Dodging risk (17 January 2017)

Yahoo has “lost” a billion personal accounts, but today this is little more newsworthy than a slight increase in shoplifting at Tesco, big data breaches are so frequent. Yahoo is lucky that this didn’t happen under the new GDPR where they could be suffer a fine of 4% of their total global turnover. However, it certainly calls into question their purported acquisition price of $4.8bn and gives them the challenge of increased customer churn. In the UK, is the well reported TalkTalk hack a turning point for the board’s focus on the effectiveness of their cyber security solutions and response?

The devil’s contract with data is that it is just so valuable, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion a staggering 91 times earnings (M&S is about 10) arguably to get access to our personal data. So lustrous is this fairy gold that many startups have as the official core of their business strategy to get bought by Google with only vague ideas on actually charging customers for their service. However as Ashley Winton will explain, looming new laws in Europe will bring into sharp focus the strategies that will be needed in the future to protect the value of your data, and to continue to exploit it in the creative way that has driven such high valuations for social media and telecoms companies. For data to be valuable it must be yours to sell, be consistent, be in a rational structure and navigate the increasingly tangled web of privacy laws for the web.

Even before Brexit you couldn’t move around Brussels without meeting expert lobbying from the Californian giants. Post Brexit, will UK plc rise to the challenge and create a business friendly environment for processing and profiling data in the UK? Will the governments new superpowers in the Investigatory Powers Act help or hinder this objective? With President Trump in office, what will happen to data sharing agreements between the UK/EU and the US.

Ashley Winton

Ashley is a partner in the corporate practice at law firm Paul Hastings. Formerly a microelectronics engineer, he advises technology and IT companies, global financial institutions, large utility companies, multinational corporations and government and non-government agencies on technology, telecommunications, cyber security, intellectual property and antitrust matters with particular emphasis on European regulatory issues such as electronic money, virtual currencies, encryption, authentication, cyber security and export control, data protection and privacy, technology transfer and e-commerce.

Ashley has particular expertise in relation to the outsourcing of technology and business processes, including the establishment of electronic market places, e-commerce portals and negotiating Mobile Virtual Network Operator arrangements. He also advises companies in the public sector in relation to outsourcing and strategic partnerships.