• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Big Data: ICO guidance

In its paper entitled “Big data and data protection” published last year, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) provides its view of the issues surrounding big data and privacy and serves to contribute to ongoing industry debate.

Big data is an area in which the capabilities of the technology and the range of potential applications are evolving rapidly and the full extent of the implications of big data is yet to be fully examined. The ICO’s agenda is to ensure that whilst many are excited about the benefits of big data, the related privacy risks must be sufficiently addressed.

The ICO believes that the emerging benefits of big data do not conflict with key data protection principles and safeguards. The ICO does not accept the argument that data protection principles are not fit for purpose in the context of big data, but believes that there is sufficient flexibility inherent in the data protection principles that allow big data analytics to thrive in a privacy-compliant world.

What is Big Data?

Big data is a term used to describe high-volume and high-variety generation of data and the far-reaching possibilities presented through analysing it. Typically, it is characterised by volume, variety and velocity of data, and by the use of algorithms, using ‘all’ the data and then repurposing that data.

There has certainly been a lot of hype surrounding big data in recent times.  Some see big data merely as a continuation of the processing of data that has always been done – the only difference being that very large volumes of data are now being handled. Such use may be closer to traditional business intelligence analytics even though it may be marketed as big data. Where the processing represents a continuation of what has been happening previously, then the ICO recognizes that it is unlikely any new issues in terms of data protection will be raised. 

However, within perhaps the true application of big data, increasing amounts and types of data are being captured all the time and our ability to analyse it, often by using algorithms embedded within innovative software and utilising new research techniques creates ever more complex data protection issues. When the US supermarket Target in 2012 deployed a statistical model which correctly inferred based on purchasing data that one of its customers was pregnant this highlighted some of the privacy concerns of the application of big data; questions were raised about how a person can realistically consent to someone pulling all kinds of disparate data together and running an algorithm over it to learn all sorts of potentially detailed bits of personal information about that individual which are not generally predictable or foreseeable unless you are told what each search is?

Big Data and Data Protection

The ICO recognises that there are many instances of big data analytics that do not involve personal data at all.  Using climate and weather data are examples of areas where big data analytics can enable new discoveries and improve services and business processes, without using personal data.

However, there are many examples of big data analytics that do involve processing personal data, and these are the applications where the privacy risks must be addressed.  Such big data analytics may use data from monitoring devices on patients in clinical trials, mobile phone location data, data on purchases made with loyalty cards and biometric data from body-worn devices.

Big data analytics also has the potential to create new personal data. For example, social media and other data about an individual could be analysed to find out about that person’s lifestyle as a factor in determining their credit rating, or whether they are at risk of developing a medical condition.  Similarly, sensors in cars provide vast amounts of data about the car, but this can also be used to identify patterns in people’s driving behaviour, which can help to inform decisions about their insurance premiums.

Why is Big Data important to the ICO?

Big data analytics increasingly uses observed, inferred and derived, rather than provided data. By repurposing personal data that an organisation has collected for one purpose and then decides to start analysing it for completely different purposes (or to make it available for others to do so) then it needs to make its users aware of this. This is particularly important if the organisation is planning to use the data for a purpose that is not apparent to the individual because it is not obviously connected with their use of a service. This can be problematic in terms of providing privacy information, because individuals may be unaware that this data is being collected and processed. This makes transparency even more important because the processing is not obvious to the individuals concerned.

The ICO warns businesses to ensure that they process personal data fairly and in a transparent manner when undertaking big data initiatives. In particular, businesses using personal information in big data projects should check whether they have a right to use the data in that context or whether they need to obtain consent from individuals to use the data for the purposes they intend.The ICO has said that companies need to update their privacy notices and make sure individuals are aware if they find new purposes for processing personal data when processing that information that were unforeseen when consumers were first told of the purpose for which their data was to be used.

Why is this important to you?

Before businesses can make use of big data in any given scenario, it is crucial that each use case demonstrates a legitimate business purpose for using the relevant data. Often a privacy impact assessment may be required to document a variety of privacy issues that may be applicable, included (a) obtaining individuals’ consent, (b) the laws and regulations relating to data governance/transfer, and (c) legal restrictions relating to monitoring, recording or tracking user activity.


For more information, please contact Paul Hinton, Nicola Fulford or Lee Rubin.