Ronnie Preiskel
Office:
4 King’s Bench Walk
Temple
EC4Y 7DL
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 7332 5655

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Data

Ronnie is a co-founder of Preiskel & Co and has over 20 years’ experience working in the TMT sector in a wide variety of roles. He has a broad and in-depth understanding of the TMT sector and has benefited from many years working within the industry, including matters for BT, a Vodafone JV and a mobile services start-up. Ronnie has an MA in economics and law from Cambridge University, and an MBA from INSEAD.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

My career has been varied and interesting. I have had the privilege of working in private practice, in-house and in non-legal roles such as business development and corporate strategy, before co-founding Preiskel & Co.

YOU HAVE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE FROM YOUR TIME WORKING AS AN IN-HOUSE LAWYER. HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOUR PRACTICE?

My experience of being in-house helped me understand how businesses work, how internal politics can operate and the type of advice that business people understand and prefer, and it has given me a deep knowledge of the telecoms and tech sectors. I have shared my knowledge and experience with my team to ensure that we develop a practice where we work with clients in a manner where we help our clients achieve their goals. 

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ESTABLISH A SPECIALIST TELECOMS AND TECHNOLOGY LAW FIRM?

My brother and I have both always been interested in communications and technology and we both considered that we could offer a unique service to the sector based on our experience and approach to servicing clients.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH APPLYING ESTABLISHED COMPETITION LAW PRINCIPLES, SUCH AS ABUSE OF DOMINANCE, TO THE DATA MARKET?

There are two key issues in applying established competition law principles to the data market. The first, regarding merger control, is the mismatch between company turnover and company value in technology markets, particularly in markets for online platforms or apps that have considerable data assets, but low turnovers. The data assets make the relevant companies extremely valuable to purchasers wishing to enhance their own data troves, but the low turnover means that such mergers are likely to receive little or no scrutiny, despite the considerable impact they can have on the market. The second issue is the enforcement of competition law in these markets does not appear to adequately deter breaches. The question of how to adequately remedy an abuse of dominance in the data market is one that is yet to be satisfactorily answered. For example, the European Commission has issued its largest ever fine to Google for abuse of dominance with regards to its Google Shopping service, yet it is unlikely to even make a dent in Google’s finances. Moreover, the competitors who have suffered as a result of the abuse remain unable to compete as, due to the abuse of dominance, they have been pushed out of the market and thus unable to accumulate databases to match Google’s, meaning they remain at a considerable competitive disadvantage. Moreover, the data market is fast moving, and enforcement procedures tend to take a long time, during which the dominant party can amass more and more data, meaning that, de facto, non-compliance may pay.

FROM A REGULATORY PERSPECTIVE, WHAT ARE THE CURRENT KEY ISSUES CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF DATA USAGE?

A new data protection regime came into force on 25 May and although the EU and local regulators have issued compliance guidance for controllers and processors, there are still areas to develop. As the GDPR is implemented across Europe, this guidance is likely to become more detailed and coherent.

Moreover, as technology and data usage continue to develop, regulation will have to develop to keep up and address new and ongoing issues which may cause detriment to consumers, while also ensuring that businesses have the space they need to thrive in new markets and technologies.

HOW DO YOU THINK BREXIT IS LIKELY TO IMPACT PRACTITIONERS IN THIS SPACE?

The exact picture of how the landscape will look after Brexit remains blurry. Initially the impact will probably be limited as the UK is unlikely to implement a new regulatory regime immediately after Brexit. Over time, it can be expected that there will be increasing divergence from the EU and practitioners and their clients will face the challenges of ensuring compliance with both regimes.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

Work hard, be commercially minded, embrace new technology and listen to your clients.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

We see our team continuing to grow, technology taking an increasing importance in how we deliver our services to clients and a continuing focus on providing tailored and quality legal advice which addresses their commercial needs.

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