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Competition Law

Analysis - debate - current awareness

09 DEC 2013

Dishing the data

By John Cassels and Daniel Geey, Field Fisher Waterhouse

Pyramids, harvesting and clouds were not mainstream terms one would expect to use when talking about data five years ago. As a company's IT infrastructure becomes ever more complex, cloud storage, data harvesting and reviewer pyramids are the new buzzwords of industries hooked on the need for megabytes. This becomes relevant for competition lawyers when involved in internal compliance investigations, immunity or leniency applications or post dawn raid reviews. A major part of such a project can revolve around a data strategy that can be rolled out effectively and managed proactively.

Such a process revolves around the identification, collection, review and disclosure of company data. Aside from the always tricky data protection and privacy issues in relation to personal employee data, there are a whole raft of important considerations to bear in mind when looking for relevant information including: the purpose of the review and the intended outcomes, the need for a data map of the company's data operations, the sensitive issue of whether to interview employees, the timeframe for the project, the budget, where the data is stored and across what device types. This does not even touch on the actual review itself which will include forensic search term drafting, de-duplication issues, reviewer pyramid workflows, predictive coding technology and disclosure obligations.

In previous weeks we have discussed dawn raids, document retention and accessing data topics to focus the minds of company executives on the benefits of having data protocols in place for all such eventualities. Mock dawn raid programmes, executive board member 'do's and don'ts' and periodic internal employee interviews are all compliance tools that should form part of every company's wider risk management strategy.

Get your strategic compliance processes in place, and guess what; we can help. It may just save you hundreds of millions one day.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues please do not hesitate to contact us.

john.cassels@ffw.com and daniel.geey@ffw.com

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