• 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

What is our personal data worth? And who has the right to that value?

The debate on personal data value has been bumbling along for years now, with many businesses making enormous profits from monetising data sets on their customers. The news has now caught up with legislators but is the state just trying to get in on the action?  

For individuals, the real question is what is their data worth to them? Data aggregators will say not very much – it’s the value of big data sets that lead to demographic targeting on a mass scale where the value is found. And other businesses will say the value is represented in the free services they use online. 

The state has realised, however, that there’s a role for them to play on behalf of citizens as a whole and a potential new tax income to fund public services. 

In the EU, a long-running debate on whether data should be treated like money is drawing to a close. The theory, in the Digital Content Directive, is that consideration for a service based on an exchange of personal data instead of cash would result in the same or similar consumer protections offered to those paying for digital services with money. This builds on the distinction of digital goods and services from non-digital goods and services as introduced via EU law into the UK in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. While this wouldn’t have resulted in any conclusion on what, for example, my e-mail address would equate to in sterling, it does move us closer to seeing data as a type of currency (readers will note that I’m not discussing cryptocurrencies on purpose, which we can perhaps consider next time).

In normal EU fashion, the Digital Content Directive proposals resulted in intense lobbying in Brussels and various rounds of debate. Three years later that process is coming to an end and whilst it is unlikely that the UK will now need to adopt the Digital Content Directive (unless Brexit doesn’t happen, of course) the Government has made it clear that it intends to secure close co-operation on consumer law issues: we shouldn’t therefore be surprised to see mirror image alignment in place of direct application.

This is one example of needing to iron out the creases on Brexit transition. For example, there are interesting overlaps with the European Electronic Communications Code (“EECC”) which the UK will adopt. It’s yet to be seen how consumer protection measures in the EECC for digital communication services (i.e, Whatsapp) or bundles of digital content with communications services (i.e, Netflix “binge” on mobile data packages) will be regulated alongside potential overlapping regulation from the Digital Content Directive or a UK equivalent. And as we’ve seen with the parallel proposals in the Sale of Goods Directive, maximum harmonisation attempts by the European Commission can in fact result in a diminution of consumer protection laws in the UK.

In the UK, the Government has been reluctant to agree with the European Commission on its plans to elevate the status of data to money as a form of consideration. But it has thrown itself behind a new digital services taxes to try and increase the amount of tax paid by many global digital platforms, including in respect of monetised data. 

In the recent budget, the Chancellor announced this new tax noting that multilateral negotiations via the OECD/G20 had been too slow, and that the UK was therefore going to go it alone. 

The EU was due to follow the UK, however, with European Commission proposals for a digital services tax to be voted on at a recent meeting of EU finance ministers. But key Member States (namely Denmark) decided to push back, resulting in a new Franco-German alternative being put forward. The new proposal – now different to UK policy – focuses only on revenue generated from targeted advertising (albeit still at the 3% rate). It seems, for now, that taxation from the EU on sales of data and certain data services, as well as other non-advertising revenues generated from the use of personal data on digital platforms, has been pushed into the long grass. 

So we’re moving a few steps along the journey of data value for the data subject – whether directly or on citizens behalf by Governments. Personally, I’m still hopeful that we’ll get to a position where individuals can control their personal data sharing in the same was as they do with their money using their banking app – deciding what categories of data to share with who and for how much. However, given it’s taken years to get this far, and with Brexit on our to-do list, this isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. 

 

Darren Jones is the Member of Parliament for Bristol North West and a member of the Science and Technology and EU Scrutiny Select Committees. He co-chairs the Parliamentary Information, Communications and Technology Forum and the Parliamentary Commission on Technology Ethics. Darren is also a legal consultant in the commercial technology team at Kemp Little.