Innovation & Technology

Data Protection: A Hot Topic at the 5th Biennial Technology Law Conference

The event addressed various topics in the legal universe regarding technology, but the emphasis was on data protection.

The event addressed various topics in the legal universe regarding technology, but the emphasis was on data protection.

On May 18th and 19th, the IBA Technology Law Committee held its 5th biennial conference in São Paulo, Brazil.


On the first panel of the event, the evolution of technology in the healthcare sector was one of the matters discussed by Fabio Pereira, from Veirano Advogados. He claims that one of the ways  automation can break into this field is using robots to help doctors with their diagnosis. An artificial intelligence (AI), according to the speaker, is now able to compile information and past records from the patients, analyze radiographies and optimize other tasks regarding the management and interpretation of data. However, despite the advantages this technology brings to the table, it also raises a concern regarding confidentiality. To work with an AI, there must be a database to feed it with information and as Mr. Pereira pointed out “medical records might be worth much more than credit cards details,” so medical information is now an asset in need of protection.


On the third panel of the day, the data protection in healthcare issue continued as the main topic, Ricardo Martins from Siemens, agreed with Mr. Pereira’s claims. “Imagine if all insurance companies had access to our medical data,” he said, “they could plan ahead and build plans for you based on this information,” which may create a problem for the clients, as it would require  “blind faith” on the part of personnel handling the information. Hence, he ponders “who do we want to access our data?” According to Ricardo, multiple countries are starting to discuss this issue on a regulatory level.


In another talk, the focus was the main contract on use of data, The terms and conditions, which is signed before a user opens an application for the first time. This was one of the points discussed by Erick Nybo, from EasyTaxi, concerning monetization of data by startups. He pointed out that users rarely read these terms. In an earlier talk, José Gontijo, director of the Ministry of Communications of Brazil, said that asking users for their consent on the use of data is sometimes “an annoyance” that makes the interface less attractive and the experience less enjoyable.


Erik Nybo also discussed how companies can make a profit on the data gathered. “When you think about a startup, you have software and data. Which one is more valuable? Data. The true differentiation is how you gather and process data through a piece of software.” Erik approaches the possibility of creating products through data, by analyzing three aspects of the target audience: consumption behavior, profiling and geolocation. Cross-referencing these three elements, according to Erik, is the key to making decisions when developing a product that will appeal to the intended target audience.


Erik also hosted a roundtable concerning terms and conditions. In it, participants often agreed that users, especially in Brazil, are willing to provide access to their data, in exchange for a quality service. In the roundtable entitled Digital Afterlife, the main conclusion was that the adaptation of the terms and conditions was central, without much need for more regulatory measures.


The matter of confidentiality was one of the key points of the talk given by UK lawyer Monty Raphael, from Peters & Peters..  Mr. Raphael’s presentation was on cybersecurity and cybercrime, and his focus was on the matters of transparency and lawyer-client confidentiality. As he stressed during the presentation, the balance between privacy and security is central to the discussion. How much access to information should governments have? Alongside Stephen Denyer, from the Law Society of England and Wales, the confidentially discussion here was about the lawyer-client relations.




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