Rhys McWhirter has recently joined Eversheds Sutherland as a consultant and will lead the firm’s technology, media and telecoms (TMT) team in Hong Kong.
McWhirter advises clients across the Asia-Pacific on IT outsourcing, strategic procurement, digital asset offerings, data analytics and privacy, and tech-related M&A. He will be supported by Aaron Hulston, a senior associate who has relocated to Hong Kong from London.
“Artificial intelligence [AI] and big data are a powerful combination, one that often leads to the expression ‘data is the new oil’,” said McWhirter. “They are changing our world, and faster than many of us realize. Unsurprisingly, these opportunities have also given rise to new risks. In recent years there have been a number of high-profile incidents involving personal data being sold or otherwise misused without the knowledge of the individuals concerned.
“Consumers, regulators and governments are increasingly mindful of how organisations collect, analyze, store and distribute data. Businesses should be mindful of the ethical issues involving AI and big data, and strike a balance between commercial opportunities and consumer protection. The rapid speed of innovation means regulators are keeping a close eye on technological developments.”
McWhirter advises organizations to develop ethical guidelines governing the use of their data and promote these to consumers. “The ethical use of data has become a boardroom-level discussion and organizations need to ensure they are achieving a balance between technological opportunity and transparency,” he said.