Did you watch the Oscars a few weeks ago? Well, it kept me relatively entertained over that weekend, with Lady Gaga’s outstanding performance of the Sound of Music – the fact that Lady Gaga was dressed relatively normally – shocking; an incredibly moving speech by The Imitation Game’s Graham Moore…I could go on. Did I know much about the individual nominated films? No.
Admittedly, I am not an avid cinema goer (being kicked in the back, sharing arm rests and shoes in my hair are just not my thing) and therefore I tend to be about 6-12 months behind the film buffs, but like the rest of us, I do enjoy a good story. For me, one film in particular really did stand out from the rest: Citizenfour – more than just a story – a documentary about one of the most controversial and ongoing reports of 2013 – I had to watch it. Why did it stand out? Well for one thing, it won for good reason.
As a legal recruiter, everyday, the team and I analyse the legal market and note trends by following the news and networking with HR Managers, job seekers and Heads of Departments. As such it will come as no surprise to you that we can see just how much growth the technology industry has experienced over the past 5 years alone. About 50% of our roles are in the technology space and about 75% of our roles require lawyers who have some experience with IT law and most recently (over the past 12 months), an increase in demand for data protection and IP. The world in which we live is becoming more and more reliant on technology, and why not? It helps improve communication and makes day to day tasks easier by a click of a button *hang on a moment while I just remotely record the Great British Bakeoff online via my Android…great, job done!* As I was saying, your ability to get more done and multi-task is a fantastic advantage in both work and play.
But then the bombshell hits (were the Americans really surprised? Come on…) everything an American citizen does via a mobile, laptop etc. is being recorded by American Bodies and Edward Snowden has proof. Now for us British citizens, we have pretty much been made aware of this going on in the UK for some time, we just haven’t necessary made a big hoo-hah about it (not like the Americans at any rate), trusting in the Freedom of Information and the Data Protection Acts. Saying that, Edward Snowden has, over the past week, shed new light into what is being called the ‘great SIM Heist’ involving intelligence agencies from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and Gemalto, the world’s biggest producer of SIM cards. Only time will tell what new information is to follow, and I for one recommend that if any of this interests you, watching the film/documentary is a good starting point.
What has really stuck in my mind is the fact that we do need to be more careful and aware of our rights. Data protection is under the spotlight more and more, especially in relation to technology, due to our advancements. Only today, was I reading on out-law.com that EU legislators are looking to, wait for it, ‘future-proof’ new data protection laws against major technological advances – I’d like to have a greater understanding as to what that will look like. In-House Counsel should be being consulted by the powers that be within their company in relation to these issues and if not, why not? This issue only stands to grow. Data protection lawyers, in fact any in-house counsel – watch this space – 2015 is going to be an interesting ride.