Porter Wright continues its tradition of providing cutting-edge information about how technology affects your business with the 2016 Technology Seminar Series, beginning  May 18.

This year’s sessions are:

May 18: Big Data, Data Analytics & the Law 2016: What Your Company Needs to Know About the Evolution of the Next Big Thing

“Big data” is one of today’s most prevalent buzzwords across virtually all industries worldwide. But who truly understands what big data is and how it’s used? How is information collected, stored and analyzed? How are businesses leveraging big data in the workplace and the marketplace? How should companies balance data-driven trend-spotting against  consumer protection?  What laws or ethical frameworks apply to the use of big data, and how can you be sure your company is complying with them? This seminar provides an introduction to big data analytics, to the legal and strategic issues that big data raises for business, and to the ways that companies can position themselves to handle these challenges.  It then zeros in on the use of big data in the modern workplace to illustrate how some of these issues play out in a context familiar to many companies.

Speakers: Dennis Hirsch, Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Program on Data, Law, Ethics and Policy (DLEAP), The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Brian Hall, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

An Introduction to Big Data and to the Legal and Strategic Issues it Raises for Business

This section of the seminar begins with a user-friendly, non-technical introduction to the methods and capabilities of big data analytics.  It provides an overview of the tremendous benefits that big data analytics can create, and of the risks that it can pose to privacy, cyber security, and basic fairness.  At each stage, it uses examples.  The section emphasizes the strategic importance for business of understanding these risks and of addressing them pro-actively.  It provides an overview of the laws that could apply to business use of big data analytics, and the gaps in those laws.  Finally, it offers initial suggestions as to how a company can develop a framework for assessing when its use of big data is likely to benefit the business, and when it will pose undue risk to customers and so to the company itself.

Topics include:

  • A general, non-technical, introduction to big data
  • Opportunities and risks that big data and data analytics can generate for businesses
  • How existing laws apply to business use of big data analytics; gaps in the legal framework
  • Developing a risk management, cost-benefit approach to the use of big data
  • How to position your company for the future regulation of big data
Big Data in the Modern Workplace: Real Rewards Come With Legal Risks

A lot has happened in the world of “Big Data” for human resources professionals in the year since we last presented this topic as part of Porter Wright’s 2015 Technology Seminar Series. There is an ever increasing range of new services and products entering the market promising employers the ability to make more data-driven, and therefore presumably reliable, decisions. For instance, data analytics firms promise that employers using their services and products will reduce employee turnover by helping them identify applicants who will be the best fit for their organizations. Various wearable device manufacturers and mobile app developers also promise employers they can increase employee productivity, reduce the number of employee accidents, and reduce their health insurance costs by incorporating their profits into wellness programs.

But at what cost do these promised advantages come? In January 2016, the FTC  issued its Report on Big Data, which identifies potential ways that employer reliance on Big Data tools risk violating federal employment laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the American with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act as well as federal and state privacy laws.  As it relates to federal discrimination laws, the EEOC has identified as an enforcement priority the elimination of barriers to employment opportunities, though such means as screening and selection devices, tests, and other practices that employers may use to recruit and hire. As part of this priority, the EEOC has promised to study “internet-based assessments that rely on big data analytics and new technologies” to determine the likelihood that these devices are causing employment discrimination.  This presentation will address the federal and state legal landscape as it relates to Big Data and the steps that employers can take to reduce the risk and avoid class actions challenging their use of Big Data tools.

Upcoming technology seminar series events:

  • June 15: Recent Developments in Data Breach Law and Practical Pointers When Data is Breached.
    The latest in the legal landscape of data breach, cases and legislative initiatives, and thoughts on how to respond in the event of data breach.
  • July 13: The Latest in Trade Secret Law, Including Best Practices and Legal Protection of Software
    The changing landscape of patent protection for software and the importance of secret protection in business.

If you’d like to learn more about our upcoming seminar series, contact Porter Wright.