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Data is an asset. Many of today’s successful companies are based on data-driven business models. Big tech businesses are naturally leading the way, but across all sectors businesses are under pressure to leverage or monetize data. Monetizing data can be done in various ways, such as personalizing products or services, making manufacturing or logistic processes more efficient, automating tasks and operations, engaging in targeted advertising and improving internal systems, just to name a few. Possibilities seem limitless and businesses are becoming ever more sophisticated and creative in deriving value from data.

But as data-based or digital business models emerge and evolve around the world in each and every sector, legislators, policy makers, regulators, academics and others – across disciplines – are working out how best to respond to, and regulate, these new business models. The objective is to develop rules that foster socially beneficial innovation, preserve human values, protect consumers and at the same time nurture competition.

The policy discussion has been underway for quite some time now. While some countries are ahead of others and, naturally, local divergences exist, we are seeing similar trends and themes emerging across the globe. Notably, these themes go way beyond the traditional disciplines of data privacy and security regulation, and cut deeply into various areas of law – from competition and antitrust to tax, from M&A to employment, and more. The debate has some way to go before we will see more concrete or specific regulation, but in a world where legislators and regulators are increasingly collaborating and learning from each other as they grapple with the same issues brought about by technological transformation, a global and multidisciplinary perspective is needed in order to see what is coming.

In this publication, we have collated those key themes and trends around data as an asset and driver of economic growth that we expect to have a profound impact on the legal and regulatory landscape, industry standards and, ultimately, business practice.

  • Data as an asset – commercial considerations
  • Taxing the digital economy: the role of data
  • Data compliance in the data economy – an ongoing balancing act
  • Digital antitrust: a global snapshot of latest developments
  • Open banking – Challenges and opportunities for new innovative financial services
  • The future of work in the data economy
  • Blockchain – new technologies benefiting from and enabling the data economy
  • New infrastructures – automated and connected vehicles, smart roads and smart infrastructure
  • Disputes in the data economy
  • Trends in tech M&A deals

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Raffaele Giarda chairs Baker McKenzie's Global Technology Media & Telecoms Industry Group and co-heads the Commercial-Corporate/M&A practice in the Firm's Italy offices. He has contributed articles to law journals, and often speaks at and moderates Italian and international conferences and seminars on IT/C legal and regulatory issues. Mr. Giarda is a lecturer at the University of Rome as well as at the Italian National School for Public Administration. He joined the Firm in 1989 and became a partner in 1999.