News & Views

Data and Law – Current Developments

16 April 2018

Authors: Outi Jousi and Jesper Nevalainen

The Finnish tech community is now talking about 5G technology. 5G will bring faster connections, among other things, and give a true boost to new technologies.

In practice this means that mobile data transfers become even quicker. There will be no latency. Autonomous vehicles will be able to stay in constant contact with each other. The Internet of Things will truly start to become the Internet of Everything. Imagine millions of interconnected devices! And it won’t stop here, as 6G is already being planned in laboratories. In layman's terms, the space needed for the hardware will be so small that you can hook anything up online. Anything. Even your objects at home. You will soon not even notice that they are online, and will not even know it in some cases.

This means that privacy and information security will gain more importance. However, mere Data Processing Agreements and alike between customers and vendors will not cut it. There will be more and more need for agreements and other arrangements concerning the transfer, analysis, modification, and use of data. Raw data as such is usually not so valuable, but the right to analyse and use it might bring up new companies and business ideas.

The Finnish Government is opening up many of its data repositories to ease the use of data in hopes of assisting new companies to be formed. Companies act as platforms. Common consumer platform examples include Facebook, AirBnb, and Uber. The platform economy is one of the action points of our current government. The Finnish society transfers huge amounts of data. We are well-equipped and accustomed to taking new technologies into heavy use. As lawyers, we already see this new way of doing business becoming more common, even within the B2B market, but there is still a lot to be done.

Another example of current developments includes yet another hype word, Serverless. In practice it means that data is transferred at certain times, when requested. As the EU is planning on new legislation on the location of servers, and serverless is becoming the buzz of the moment, is the EU way too late in its actions? No, even in "serverless architectures", servers are still being used, but the developer focus is on data.

Beyond all the hype, all of this can be boiled down to one word: data. It is increasingly important, and you should take care of yours, both technically and contractually.