GDPR silver lining

If Data is the new Gold, then GDPR [the Regulation] is the Great Equaliser, for European citizens at least. Many government bodies, businesses of various sizes and large corporates are already bemoaning the bureaucracy & potential sanctions accompanying the introduction of GDPR as mandatory in May 2018. Data is knowledge and knowledge is power. That is why data protection is central to our democracy here in Europe, and is a Fundamental Right of all European Citizens under the European Charter of Fundamental Human Rights (Treaty of Lisbon, Article-8 December 2009). GDPR silver lining strand-1 – is that it not only seeks to affirm this fundamental right but goes much further in specifying a set of Regulations (or fully fledged European regulations – laws) to deliver-on this Fundamental Right to Data Protection. The personal data of any particular customer  is intrinsically worth very little to anyone else, but the ‘mining’ or ‘harvesting’ of such data gives it a very significant value to the likes of FANG, (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google). From 25th May 2018 any European citizen has the right to know what data is held on them, and in some cases to demand its deletion. Citizens of Europe can invoke the Right to be Forgotten, by requiring Search Engine Corporates to remove facts about them, not from the web itself, but from results of Searches. GDPR silver lining strand-2 Another strand of the GDPR silver lining, which is less obvious but much more critical is a right of appeal to a human being against decisions which have been taken by an Algorithm (or mathematical model). Computers and Servers are...

Expert Witness in Ireland

The primary function of an Expert Witness in Ireland is to assist the Irish courts in matters within his/her sphere of specialist expertise. The retention of an Expert Witness in Ireland is a common feature of litigation. As in most cases [where they are former-Legal Practitioners], Judges are typically well-qualified to adjudicate on allegations of legal negligence without additional aid from an expert. Where an Expert Witness is being retained, there is an obligation on Instructing Solicitors to ensure that the costs of litigation are proportionate. Expert Witness in Ireland – liability There is now a possibility that Expert witnesses can be subject to claims in negligence arising from failure to exercise reasonable skill and care in providing their Expert Evidence. The courts in Ireland have held that an Expert in Ireland will have discharged his/her duty to their client if they provide an independent and unbiased opinion, which is within the range of ‘reasonable expert opinions’. Therefore, experts who have proactively and mindfully engaged in the process of presenting expert evidence are likely to satisfy these criteria vis-à-vis their liability. Expert Witness in Ireland –  Immunity Expert Witness in Ireland immunity has been upheld in a number of recent Irish precedent cases. One of the leading cases – Looney v the Governor and the Company of Bank of Ireland & Morey – provided that a Court could suspend an Expert Witness’s immunity if the witness was found to have made defamatory (or malicious) statements. In a UK case in 2015, one reason cited for abolishing expert witness immunity was the public policy argument that Experts should be accountable...
Profiling GDPR

Profiling GDPR

Profiling GDPR, Ireland It is now widely accepted that Data is the new Oil (2006, Clive Humby, UK mathematician & inventor of the Tesco Clubcard). Today, there is a new “gang of four,” as Google chairman Eric Schmidt puts it [Profiling GDPR Eric Schmidt Gang of Four ] . They are Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook [GAAF], and they are behind the consumer revolution on the Internet today. All four companies are “growing at incredible rates”. Schmidt notes that all four are together worth in excess of half a trillion dollars, they are all platforms in their own right, and they are all basically spreading their power where before there was only one company who had such influence: namely, Microsoft User Profiling The core businesses of the GAAF have now fundamentally converged into Profiling. Article 4 of the GDPR defines Profiling as “any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of using those data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyse or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behaviour, location or movements”. Article 22 goes on to state that a European Citizen has the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, [including profiling] which produces legal effects or similarly significantly affects, with certain exemptions to this, Profiling GDPR – Recital-71 – April 2017 Through Profiling of all of its users, the GAAF Corporates know who your best friends are, your preferred holiday destinations and your relationship status. Over-and-above this there is a colossol quantity of...

Tracker Redress Flaws

First of two Tracker Redress Flaws A Conflict of Interest is something that potentially haunts members of the Professions in all democracies. On the Web Site of KPMG., (authors of PermTSB’s Tracker Redress Scheme) reference is made to a recent Wall Street Journal article1 and public comments by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, 2 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the SEC are “keenly focused on conflicts of interest” for firms in the financial services sector. Further emphasizing the importance of managing conflicts of interest (COIs), SEC Director di Florio stated that “conflicts of interest, when not eliminated or properly mitigated, are a leading indicator of significant regulatory issues for individual firms, and sometimes even systematic risk for the entire financial system.” A recent Sunday Times article disclosed that KPMG were paid €8.6m by Permanent TSB in 2015 for work on the state-controlled bank’s Tracker Mortgage Redress Scheme [TMRS] and other “regulatory and compliance projects”. The payment, equivalent to a substantial 3% of the accountancy firm’s all-Ireland fee income [of about €300m a year], provides the first glimpse of how a Tracker Redress Flaws scandal will cost Irish lenders millions in fees, on top of the interest refunds and compensation they will have to pay to impacted customers. Second of two Tracker Redress Flaws The emerging Tracker Redress Flaws scandal, is rooted in the unfair removal of low-cost tracker mortgages from thousands of home owners, is also interfering with the banks’ ability to securitise, or offload mortgages as they seek to sanitise their balance sheets. Approximately 90 of...

Irish Shadow Banking

 Since the Global Banking Disaster in 2007, Irish Shadow Banking hasn’t gone away you know. The shadow banking system consists of non-banking institutions that include inter alia hedge funds, money market funds, pension funds, insurance companies and to some extent the large custodians such as Bank of New York and State Street. The funding of Shadow Banks is typically associated with the non- banks’ securities lending transactions, use (and re-use) of the collateral they post with banks, etc. Irish Shadow Banking recently entered the public domain, in an Irish Times article describing law firm Matheson’s (formerly Matheson Ormsby & Prentice, Solicitors)  usage of Registered Charities to facilitate the tax avoidance and potentially risky Irish shadow banking activities of global hedge funds and lenders. In recent years there has been substantial growth in Dublin of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) set up by global financial institutions to operate in the Irish Shadow Banking sector. Such SPVs are tax-efficient structures used by financial institutions to house risky assets such as distressed debt instruments or so-called catastrophe bonds, which allow insurers spread risks linked to weather events or acts of terrorism. Dublin has become a mecca for SPVs and similar structures and the Irish Central Bank is endeavouring to comprehend the potential risks Irish Shadow Banking poses to the Irish financial system, after several Economists warned Regulators of their need to comprehend & attempt to monitor their activities vis-à-vis those of High Street Banks. Matheson  offers its international financial clients the use of charitable trusts, which can be registered with the Irish Charities Regulator allegedly to “relieve poverty and distress”, while simultaneously acting...

Asset Tracing Investigators and the Panama Papers.

These disclosures might allow Asset Tracing Investigators to paraphrase John Keats’ ‘Beauty is Truth, Truth beauty, that is all ye know, and all ye need to know’. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by a German newspaper. That newspaper then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Are these implicated Individuals stating ‘we have done no wrong-doing’, probably because this sounds better that saying ‘we haven’t committed any crime’? The occurrence of this Leak may be some type of auspice on the existence of a great Equaliser or Avenging Angel with a mandate for Natural Justice. It dwarfs previous earth-shattering disclosures of Swiss Banking and HSBC Files in 2015. One-step Removed from mainland UK Mossack Fonseca [MF] is a Panama-based law firm, with strong UK connections that runs a worldwide operation in incorporating limited companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Switzerland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Its global network employs 600 staff and extends to 42 countries. The Papers consist of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, MF. Within these disclosed documents are references to 200,000 companies for which MF acted as registered agents. The British Virgin Islands held in excess of 100,000 such companies.The BVI., population numbers approximately 28000 residents. The contents of the 11.5 million documents, date from 1977 to December 2015, containing nearly 40-years of data. Unsurprisingly there is great alarm in the UK., on the scale of the influence these offshore activities are having, on general economic matters. The information contained within the sensitive files revealed...