I started as a solicitor in Wolverhampton and then moved to Burton upon Trent where my neighbour created a computer game “Invaders Revenge” in 1979 and introduced me to the world of gaming; I then switched my focus on to intellectual property and technology. In 1983, I started advising on data protection and marketing regulations. I built up a following of international clients and dealt with franchising for John Bull pubs in the Soviet Union in 1989. That year, I founded Lawyers Associated Worldwide, a network of law firms, which still exists today.
I got into electronic data interchange (EDI) and then e-commerce law in the 90s and moved to work in London in 1995.
By the late 90s I was doing data protection law pretty much full time and most of my clients were US headquartered multinationals. I have had a number of legal books published since 2000 and have advised and worked with the data protection authorities in the UK, Canada, US, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and UAE.
I continue to focus my time on legal and compliance advice and on training on privacy compliance.
I am proud that I have a number of loyal international clients who have instructed me for more than 20 years.
My dad was my role model and I still think of how he was a gentleman and a professional; he still inspires me even though he is no longer around.
2019 turned out as I expected in that my work revolved around data protection, data incidents, e-privacy, emerging global data privacy laws and cyber risks.
The industry will continue to face regulatory investigations and legal challenges. Technology will be both the sword and the shield. Privacy by design will be joined by ethics by default.
Used effectively and appropriately, data analytics and data governance will enable personalised health, communication, service and care.
The biggest tech challenge is ensuring that systems enable detailed records management to show the true provenance of personal data, so that individuals can control their data and businesses can manage their use and retention of personal data.