• 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.

Chip implant: farewell to the lanyard?

Recent news stories about a new high-tech office block in Sweden that uses chip implants highlight a technology with large potential but one that is surrounded by legal and privacy issues.  The building uses tiny RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips under the skin to allow tenants to gain access to the building and their rented office space, and tenants can also operate the photocopier by waving their hands.

The technology has been around for decades - warehouses use it to make shipping more efficient, it has been used to locate missing pets and many of us start our cars using RFID chips in the ignition key.  Sub-dermal implants have been trialled as far back as 1998 when a professor of cybernetics at Reading University used a chip implanted under his skin to wirelessly track his whereabouts within the university’s buildings.  The office block in Sweden looks to be seeking to bring this concept out of the research lab and into the mainstream. 

Some of the advantages of using chip implants are clear.  Access to buildings without the need for keys or security passes removes risk of security breaches by lost keys/passes.  The processes for use of the photocopier or paying for lunch in the canteen can be simplified by removing the need for pin codes or passwords – a simple swipe of the hand is all that is required.  In addition and perhaps more importantly, although these types of chips do not send out information all the time (these types of chips are called passive chips as they yield information only when scanned on a nearby reader), an individual’s movements around the building can be tracked continuously as that individual enters different rooms by swiping a hand for access or use of equipment around the building.

This location data is very valuable.  By tracking individuals’ movements a picture of the use of the building can be compiled, and the results of all the building’s occupants could highlight, for example, that fewer big meeting rooms are needed or that certain workstations are underused.  The building owners could then make changes accordingly to improve the building’s efficiency.

Although of value to the buildings’ owners or perhaps more so to the facilities managers, is it a benefit or a risk to the staff who work at the premises?  Whilst convenient, it is likely that the staff would feel uncomfortable by the idea of their movements being tracked, and this certainly gives rise to privacy concerns.  A hacked/stolen I.D. could be more serious: should this be teamed with facial recognition technology?  There will also be practical issues, such as re-programming/removal, when people move on.

The collection and use of location data is covered by the general rules on data protection and can only be processed anonymously or with informed consent.  Consent from all the individuals would appear to be the simplest method to legitimise the processing of the location data, but if consent is being relied upon then issues will arise where consent is refused.  Will alternative systems be provided, for example, will staff still be able to pay for food in the cafeteria in cash?  This will likely impact the cost-savings.  Perhaps more important for the building owner / facilities manager using the information will be how meaningful that data may be if not every occupant of the building agrees to have their location tracked – how skewed will the results about the use of meetings rooms be if the data only captures a percentage, and not every member, of the staff?

Anonymising the data may help.  In any event steps to minimise any data collected will be recommended.  So, if analysing the number of occupants in the building at a single point in time say for fire safety planning, the data should simply show a single number of the people in the building/area and not set out a list of the names of all the individuals in the building (or who is in which room with whom and when). 

Whatever methods are employed to facilitate the lawful processing of the location data, any system will need to adopt the least intrusive mechanism to achieve the objectives.  The UK’s privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) encourages organisations to ensure that privacy and data protection is a key consideration in the early stages of any project and sees this as an essential tool in minimising privacy risks.  In a project involving chip implants a full privacy impact assessment should be completed.  Although not yet strictly required by law, this assessment will identify and reduce the privacy risks and can reduce the risks of harm to individuals through the misuse of their personal information.  It may also be an important tool in obtaining the trust and buy-in of the individuals concerned. 

For more information please contact Nicola Fulford (Privacy Partner) or Lee Rubin (Commercial Technology Associate).