Daniel Arbix is General Counsel of Google Brasil and a professor at Fundação Getulio Vargas. Mr. Arbix holds an LL.M. in Law, Science and Technology from Stanford University as well as a J.S.D. in International Law from Universidade de São Paulo. In this interview, he discusses Brazil’s new data protection law and what we can expect from the Brazilian technology sector in 2019.
Leaders League. How is Google Brasil preparing itself for the new Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD)?
Daniel Arbix. Innovation is critical for economic development and to raise overall welfare in our society. At Google, we firmly believe innovation is and must always be compatible with privacy. In this sense, employing privacy by design principles and collaborating with product development teams, regulators, academics as well as other companies is a key exercise for our legal department, and more broadly, for our company if we are to ensure technology increases privacy choices and controls for users. Moreover, Google also embraces privacy by design and default through awareness and education initiatives; privacy consulting and review; and development criteria which ensure privacy protections are installed into the products we build every day. Data protection principles – such as notice and consent, data control and purpose limitations – are thus baked into our product lifecycle.
We work hard at being transparent about how we use personal data by giving users clear choices, confirming said choices with them, and then logging these choices for later reference. We have put these measures and principles into practice to comply with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and we continue to do so to comply with the Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD), which is largely inspired by GDPR.
We strongly believe in collaboration and constructive engagement with regulators and intend to do both with the Brazilian Data Protection Authority (DPA) when it is created and operative in the country. Additionally, Google is committed to convening with stakeholders to have important conversations in an open and constructive way.
From a legal standpoint, what specific challenges does LGPD present to a technology giant such as Google Brasil?
Some provisions of the LGPD remain wrapped in uncertainty – as is the case with certain aspects of the GDPR - which will require the DPA to engage in technical discussions with civil society to ensure there is clarity around these issues. At Google, we believe creating a DPA with the necessary expertise to discuss the complexities of LGPD enforcement in addition to topics such as international data-transfers is of the utmost importance to drive innovation forward in the country, whilst also securing Brazilian citizens' legitimate right to privacy.
How does Google's legal department use technology to solve issues more efficiently?
Technology has allowed us to escalate our training capacity, handle legal requests more efficiently, and automatically filter demands which do not need revision from the legal team. Furthermore, our department regularly employs novel digital approaches and metrics, so that we are constantly experimenting with tools such as document automation and sophisticated analytics. The outside counsel which handle our litigation portfolio, for example, are cooperating with us in our effort to learn more from the large datasets generated by a contentious environment, thus helping us to identify trends, run trials and seize broader opportunities. Internally, we have built knowledge bases and tools to foster cooperation both within the legal department and with other departments in the company. Our goal is to implement strategies which cater to the needs of our internal clients by advising them at the right moment, in real-time and in a quantifiable manner, thus preventing potential conflicts and problems – so far as they are predictable. Our latest efforts leverage open source machine learning libraries - such as Tensor Flow - and we hope to share more about them soon.
What trends can we expect from the Brazilian technology sector in 2019 and beyond?
Venture capital investments have been growing in Brazil and Latin America in recent years. With more and more successful exits, we expect the startup ecosystem to expand, with several benefits to society as a whole, including more competition in the tech sector. From a legal perspective, the current plethora of proposed legislation, new regulations and new regulating bodies seems worrisome at first. However, promising trends are arising in the public sector. For example, modern approaches such as regulatory sandboxes and regulatory impact assessments are gaining traction, particularly as regulators appreciate the value of having closer discussions with stakeholders, including the companies affected by potential legal changes before legislation comes into force. As governmental agencies adopt new technologies such as cloud computing, they will see a more complete picture of the sector, including the shortcomings of certain technologies and the tremendous potential of innovation as a source of value creation.