| Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers
Q&A: Information technology
What are the main trends you are currently seeing with regard to your practice area?
In this sector the dominating matter of the year has been the National Broadband Network project. The agreement with Telstra in particular is quite groundbreaking within the industry.
Ms Nicole Heller, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Sydney, Australia
I get a sense that the legal community is being much open. Foreign firms wanting to have an Asian presence are looking to Singapore as a hub for their practice.
Ms Joyce A. Tan, Joyce A. Tan & Partners, Singapore
One big issue in Austria is cloud computing in Austria—everybody is engaging in it. Interestingly enough, we also have increasing awareness of data protection issues, compared to say, Germany or other jurisdictions, due to their specific legislation and practice. This was not the case in Austria until very recently. But particularly due to all of these social media and social network issues, there is a lot of data protection, information protection questions involved. Social media also raises issues with respect to competition law and labour law.
Dr Markus Andréewitch, Andréewitch & Simon, Vienna, Austria
Clients are moving toward mega deals and multi-sourcing. They are choosing one supplier for several services.
Mr Kristof De Vulder, DLA Piper, Brussels, Belgium
Lots of innovative products are coming out and that's creating a lot of work for lawyers. IT remains a critical part of the future.
Mr Martin P.J. Kratz, Bennett Jones, Calgary, Canada
First, standardisation is becoming more robust and cheaper. Secondly, we are moving towards having panel vendors—integrating vendors, not just buying from them. It's easier to integrate when things are standardised.
Dr Trevor Nagel, White & Case, Washington, DC, US
What do you expect over the next 12 months?
The business model is changing. There are new challenges and development in technology. Cloud computing services pose a particular challenge, as more data is held virtually.
Ms Gabriela Kennedy, Hogan Lovells, Hong Kong, China
The big question in Finland is whether the Nokia-Microsoft alliance will be successful. Secondly, if it is successful, how much will it benefit Finnish subcontractors and how much of the necessary work will be done by Finnish companies; or is it something that would be in the hands of other companies?
Mr Kimmo Rekola, Castrén & Snellman, Helsinki, Finland
From a German perspective it is very optimistic. There was backlash and reservations against new IT projects in 2009 and during the first half of 2010. Around September 2010, the climate swung positive and projects on hold are now getting done.
Mr Matthias Nordmann, SKW Schwarz, Munich, Germany
Activity in the sector is looking optimistic for the mid-to-long term. Acquisition and implementation of technology and outsourcing of services remain critical. The pressure is on corporate management to change their environments to make them more efficient and competitive.
Mr Allen J. Klein, Latham & Watkins, Washington, DC, US
I think that the mobile space will continue to develop especially mobile-tainment. Social media issues will continue to evolve.
Mr Stuart D. Levi, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, New York, New York, US
There is a lot of change in moves to mobile computing. There is going to be more competition in the mobile space and more competition in the tablet space. We are merging things so that there is a cross between desktop and cell phones. I hope to see much more tablet computing. Now we basically have the iPad and a couple other competitors. The different platforms are more or less open. There is the concept of an "open source" that is more like Android. Then there is the "open platform" but not "open source", which is more like the iPhone. Apple dominates right now; whether Android will be big in tablets is something to watch.
Ms Heather J. Meeker, Greenberg Traurig, East Palo Alto, California, US
Are there any new regulations or court decisions that have affected your practice?
The European data protection directive revision has had an effect.
Mr Thierry Dor, Gide Loyrette Nouel, Paris, France
The 4G spectrum auction delay is an ongoing hassle. There have been problem with its rollout.
Prof Dr Hans Rudolf Trüeb, Walder Wyss, Zürich, Switzerland
Mr Paul Barton, Field Fisher Warehouse, London, UK
A new anti-spam regulation is soon to take effect, covering electronic commercial messages. Businesses now need to review their operations in this regard.
Mr Sheldon Burshtein, Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Toronto, Canada
We are expecting that legislation [requiring data breach notification], which died on the order paper, will be reinstated or reintroduced at some point. If you have a breach and there is a significant likelihood of harm there would be a requirement to notify the privacy commissioner [In Alberta that's already the case] and possibly the consumer as well.
Mr Michael G. Fekete, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto, Canada
What are the top three concerns you are hearing from your clients?
We have heard comments about the problems surrounding the IFS process, about value for money and leakage in large outsourcing contracts.
Mr Ole Horsfeldt, Gorrissen Fiederspiel, Copenhagen, Denmark
One is the global situation and specifically how will markets evolve. Other concerns are telecoms consolidation and consolidating IT infrastructure.
Mr Michal Fereniec, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Warsaw, Poland
We've had a few questions come up regarding privacy issues; specifically what is and is not allowed, as well as disabling of search engines.
Ms Mehtap Yildirim Öztürk, Çakmak Avukatlik Bürosu, Ankara, Turkey
We see a lot of questions on breach notification such as - what data do we have? If it is lost, who do we contact? How to deliver the notifications? Also, we get a lot of queries on any kind of sourcing of data--particularly in a cloud model. Lastly, there are issues surrounding data protection and cross-border movement of data.
Mr Brian L. Hengesbaugh, Baker & McKenzie, Chicago, Illinois, US
There is a lot of red tape surrounding privacy. Our clients have concerns about IT infrastructure clashing with privacy commissioner, as well as the American legal system interfering with businesses outside of the US.
Mr Donald B. Johnston, Aird & Berlis, Toronto, Canada
Are there any recent deals or developments that are noteworthy? Why?
Here in Switzerland the pending arrival of Orange Communications Mobile might influence the telecoms market. It's not clear yet who is going to buy this operator. We have three mobile operators in Switzerland. Rumour has it that one of the two might acquire it.
Dr Peter K. Neuenschwander, Schweizer Neuenschwander & Partner, Zürich, Switzerland
The thing you see in the press is the different companies that are bulking up with patent portfolios, particularly in the mobile phone space. The acquisition of the Nortel patents is an example.
Ms Bernice Karn, Cassels, Brock & Blakewell, Toronto, Canada
I am seeing a lot more transformational projects as a way to control costs. Someone comes in, takes over the operation and transforms it—basically a consulting project.
Mr Vincent A. Sanchez, DLA Piper, Chicago, Illinois, US