Pinsent Masons provides legal advice in breakthrough data trust report

Multinational law firm Pinsent Masons has provided the legal advice in a set of new reports recommending the latest innovation in the burgeoning technology of data trusts.

The reports, ‘Food Data Trusts: a framework for sharing information’, produced by the Internet of Food Things team at the University of Lincoln and Food Data Trust – Legal, Structuring and Governance, written by Pinsent Masons, both commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) propose a breakthrough technology to resolve longstanding issues of consumer confidence in food labelling, origins and authenticity and the legal framework to support this.

The proposal is for a data trust framework under which businesses at all points in the food supply chain, from growers and manufacturers to retailers, can safely share selective in-house data. This could significantly improve supply chain processes while boosting consumer confidence about where foods come from, how sustainably they’re sourced and their authenticity.

The legal report, written by a team of data experts from Pinsent Masons including Andrew McMillan, Sarah Cameron, Michele Voznick, Lauro Fava, Chris Martin, Angelique Bret and Brendan Ryan, sets out the necessary collaboration agreements underpinning a data trust framework.

Professor Simon Pearson, Professor of Agri-Food Technology at the University of Lincoln, said: “It’s easy to understand why businesses are reluctant to share such commercially sensitive information. No one wants to reveal their advantages to their competitors. But, in the data age, this reluctance is holding up much-needed advances. Sharing data in a secure and limited way can help to expose and tackle problems from incorrect labelling and widespread food fraud to tracing contaminated food, as well as speeding up product recalls.

“The data trust framework provides a structure under which data, including real-time and time-critical, ever-changing data, can be supplied to and held securely by independent and trusted repositories, with strong governance ensuring that data providers can trust that their data will only be used as specified while recipients of data and analysis can trust the accuracy and authenticity of what’s provided.”

Julie Pierce, Director of Wales, Information and Science at the Food Standards Agency said: “The food industry needs to be able to trust that if it exchanges vital knowledge to improve what it does, its sensitive knowledge will be secure. Governments and consumers need to be able to trust what the industry and individual companies are doing and telling them. The data trust framework aims to tackle both requirements.”

Importantly, the framework is not a data trust itself: it is a mechanism to manage data trusts, which might be decentralised, diverse data collections. It is designed to control the way that data may be exchanged across data trusts that are linked temporarily, to ensure that information can be shared securely for example between regulators and other government departments that need to exchange secure and trustworthy data.

It also provides great potential to connect with AI services in order to provide access to dynamic and fresh data in return for immediate AI-derived information that could benefit the interconnected participants in the supply chain.

Andrew McMillan, Head of Technology & Digital Markets at Pinsent Masons said: “The secure and selective sharing of data is critical in further creating and advancing opportunities for societal, economic and environmental good. Even though the value of data is uncontroversial, many organisations could do more to maximise the value they derive from data they hold. They will only do so, however, within a trusted framework for data-sharing and this is where we have focused our efforts – to assist in designing and implementing a robust and efficient framework that will allow industry to realise the true value of its data.”

The report follows Pinsent Masons’ work on the Open Data Institute’s (ODI) and Government Office for AI’s (OAI) ground-breaking data-trust pilots, looking at how data trusts can be used to tackle major global challenges.

Norton Rose Fulbright publishes COVID-19 report

A new report by global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright – “Global operational resilience and COVID-19” – reveals how international financial institutions are managing operational resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A cross-section of senior executives and risk and compliance professionals from more than 50 international financial institutions responded to the survey, which focuses on seven headline areas:

  • Governance and oversight
  • Annual budgeting
  • People and important business services
  • Outsourcing and systems
  • Regulatory change and guidance
  • Key challenges and concerns
  • Lessons learned

Whilst 38% of respondents felt their institution had moderately comprehensive operational resilience frameworks before the pandemic, the same proportion confirmed their framework was either “in development” or “in place but required improvement”. Consequentially, the pandemic has prompted a robust response from the financial services industry with 80% of respondents stating that their institutions now has enhanced governance and oversight due to the crisis.

Managing external stakeholders and third parties, IT connectivity, business travel disruptions, and supervision and oversight were four areas in which respondents had experienced challenges during the earlier phase of the pandemic.

In addition, respondents have identified conduct risk, cyber and data security, cash flow and profitability, and the impact of loan loss provisions as primary areas of systemic concern.

Correspondingly, respondents expect greater regulatory scrutiny and enforcement action to focus on controls and risk management frameworks, technology and management information, accountability regimes and financial crime risks.

Given the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic, more than 70% of respondents expect that their organisations will increase their operational resilience budgets in 2021.

Lisa Lee Lewis, head of advisory for risk consulting at Norton Rose Fulbright, commented: “The pandemic has prompted an institutional rethink on operational resilience. The question financial institutions need to ask themselves is: can the institution absorb operational shock when they do occur while continuing to provide the same level of services to its customers and relevant markets? Financial institutions will continually need to test their ability to remain within their impact tolerances through a range of severe but plausible disruption scenarios. These areas will be even more pertinent as and when new or enhanced rules come into force over the course of the year in countries across the globe.”

Jonathan Herbst, global head of financial services, Norton Rose Fulbright commented: “The current pandemic has meant that firms’ contingency plans are being tested in real-time. It has incidentally prompted firms around the world to begin mapping, testing and strengthening their operational resilience frameworks, often in advance of the new or revised rules coming into force. Those firms who have generally responded well in this crisis will find that the initial groundwork for operational resilience has been laid.”

Top Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness Report

Yale Law Women (YLW) recognised Kirkland & Ellis LLP as a Top Firm for Parental & Caregiver Leave in its 2020 annual Top Firms for Gender Equity & Family Friendliness Report.

The annual list is a policy survey of Vault 100 law firms that examines inequities within the legal profession, highlights progress being made in the industry and identifies areas for improvement to serve as a tool for law firms, lawyers, and future lawyers with the aspiration of building more equitable workplaces.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP was previously honoured as a Top Family Friendly Firm in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.

About Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is an American law firm. Founded in 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, Kirkland is the largest law firm in the United States by revenue (US$4.15 billion in 2019), and the seventh largest in terms of number of attorneys (2,307 in 2019).