Predictions 2013, and beyond: Part 3, Some Prominent IT Lawyers

December 3, 2012

{i}From {b}Graham Smith{/b}, Partner at Bird & Bird. His Cyberleagle blog is at{/i}

1. ‘The really dangerous things are the search engines.’ So said Max Mosley in his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. He was speaking in the context of his own particular privacy concerns. But to judge by the enthusiastic queue of assorted governments, politicians and agendistas around the world lining up to take potshots at search engines in all manner of contexts, many see search engines as dangerous. Another view is that the really dangerous thing is to shoot the messenger.
The Party in Orwell’s 1984 propagandised that ‘Ignorance is Strength’. Will 2013 see a resurgence of belief in the value of knowledge for its own sake? Or will it be more of ‘Seek, and ye shall find only that which we think it good for you to know’? We can perhaps hope for a start to the end of the notion that it is the state’s business to confine us to finding polite, deferential, sanitised, safe, responsible or officially approved knowledge on the Internet.
As for 2023 and 2053, whether we still have the Internet or (more likely) a successor or variety of successors to the Internet, control over access to knowledge will be asserted (and resisted) as long as there are states and those who compete in trying to bend the coercive power of the state to their own ends. I wouldn’t bet on that changing any time soon.
Back to 2013:
2. Section 127 Communications Act will be repealed (we can live in hope).
3. We will have a debate about the internet and the law without anyone mentioning the Wild West (no hope).

{i}From {b}Robin Fry{/b}, Partner – Intellectual Property, DAC Beachcroft LLP:{/i}

Who owns your network? With many individuals using LinkedIn and other networks at work as their professional database, is it the company or the employee that owns this data? And is such data protectable at all given that data alone can’t be ‘owned’ – at least until it’s reduced down to one single identifiable database? The arguments will evolve – particularly where the company pays for the premium service. The divide between someone’s private and business life is becoming seriously blurred.

{i}From {b}Beverley Flynn{/b} Commercial and Technology Partner, Partner, Stevens & Bolton LLP:{/i}

I predict much lobbying and arm twisting at an EU level to try and reach comfort of consensus on the EU Draft Data Protection Regulation during 2013. I also predict the thorny issue of anonymised data will not be fully resolved. By 2023, data protection legislation will, I predict, no longer have particular rules relating to transfers outside the EEA – finally acknowledging this approach was anachronistic any way. By 2053, we may well be looking at corporate binding rules and model clauses relating to intergalactic data transfers and considering whether data relating to extra terrestrials and androids should count as personal data, and whether data subject access rights should as a matter of legislative approach be extended to them.