Karishma Brahmbhatt
  • Allen & Overy LLP
United Kingdom
Karishma Brahmbhatt

Karishma Brahmbhatt

  • Allen & Overy LLP
United Kingdom

What do you do?

I help clients to realise value from data, and to use data and innovative technologies (including big data, AI, adtech and connected devices) in a legally compliant and ethical way.

Why data?

I love the intellectual challenge of specialising in a very innovative, commercially driven yet human-centric area of law. Everyone either (intentionally or inadvertently) generates data or wants to use it, so has a vested interest in the application of data laws. My specialist area is therefore rather unique in that it is relevant to almost all sections of society. The regulatory and social landscape insofar as data is concerned is constantly evolving, and I enjoy the scope for creativity and strategic thinking in designing solutions that help clients to achieve their commercial data-related aims, whilst protecting the rights of individuals. That, together with the proliferation of data-driven and data-generating technologies, means there is never a dull moment in my practice!

What’s keeping you busy?

The evolving adtech space is currently keeping me busy, as clients are looking to reassess their online advertising activities and use of cookies. I’m also working on a few connected vehicles, smart city, and data-sharing projects.

What mentors or other influential figures have helped you get where you are today?

My parents have been my most profound influences, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their loving support and encouragement. I also feel privileged to work with, and continually learn from, my colleagues (in particular the partners in my team) and peers who take the time to share their invaluable knowledge, experiences and words of wisdom with me.

If you could change one data-related law, how and why would you change it?

A good few years ago we were promised a refresh of ePrivacy law in light of the GDPR and technological advancements, so this is now long overdue an update!

How has covid-19 affected what you do?

Well, for one thing work has been incredibly busy over the past year. The type of work that I do has not really been affected by the pandemic, although in addition to the usual data and tech-related matters we have been advising clients on how they could use employee data to enable a safe return to the workplace in the context of Covid-19.

What’s the next big thing – what data opportunities are companies now looking at?

Companies are increasingly looking to differentiate themselves from competitors by emphasising the ethical nature of their data use, and the privacy by design features in the way that they collect and use data. They are also becoming more attuned to the interplay between data protection and competition law. Otherwise I expect that the focus on personalisation of products and services, digitisation, and use of ‘smart’ technologies (fuelled by AI and connected devices) will remain for some time still.

What’s keeping companies worried at the moment – what are some key data risks?

The uncertainty created by the Schrems II judgment currently presents one of the most common data risks for companies, as does the sharpening regulatory focus on adtech.

What do you do to relax?

I find dining with friends, getting stuck into fun arts and crafts projects, and chuckling away at good sitcoms to be great ways to unwind!

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