The data revolution is very much underway as we are all increasingly aware. Data is a precious commodity sold and exploited both by criminals and by legitimate global companies.
Maralyn Hutchinson of local Teddington Solicitors Kagan Moss gives us the following lowdown…
The first six months of 2018 was punctuated by bulletins from the Office of the Information Commissioner regarding implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). These rules derive from a European Directive and establish standards with wide global recognition. Although organisational requirements for the security of personal data have existed since 1998, these are now much strengthened and extended in several directions. This recognises the way that data may be passed on for handling through more than one organisation whilst the consumer and owner of the data remains unaware of this as they deal with just the single visible service provider.
The consumer, even armed with knowledge through privacy notifications, faces the challenge that there may not be any alternative source for the particular service or product and further research being time consuming is therefore expensive. In this context, brand reputation grows ever more powerful and when failures occur they tend to be on an ever larger scale. The impact of such data losses is likely to continue to increase as news headlines regularly feature loss or theft where software has been accessed or locked following breaches of perimeter or internal security.
For the regulated legal professions including solicitors, confidentiality remains a cornerstone to the rule of law and this is made more complicated with the introduction of online processes and email. Advice to clients is private and will not be disclosed save by court order and the recent parliamentary vote on the legal advice on Brexit provided to the government would not ordinarily be made by a court unless held to be in the public interest.
In practice, greater portability of larger amounts of personal data presents more opportunity for impersonation with wide impact and worldwide reach in property and financial transactions. The new industrial revolution in information technology is recognising this challenge through the growing use of forms of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is now powering both the criminal elements as well as law enforcers the situation grows ever more complex. This technology accelerates functions and processes change and investment is needed in training and skills to support changing roles and processes.
Although legal services will be supported more and more by mechanical and automated checking processes the delivery of the legal services will remain the responsibility of your solicitor. The new tools have acknowledged limitations and may be reliable within acceptable tolerances but our experience to date is that whilst the new technologies speed up some processing, the complexity of transactions and ever-increasing legislation means that personal skills and expertise to match services to client needs remains paramount and much unchanged.