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Industry 4.Thought insights

The fourth industrial revolution presents great opportunities for businesses that are prepared to embrace new technologies and ways of working. Here you'll find regular, up-to-the-minute facts, thoughts and opinions on industrial technology and the ever-changing legal landscape.

If you have any concerns or queries relating to the future of industry, visit our dedicated team page on the right to contact one of our experts.

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European Commission publishes ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI

Ethics becomes a key focus for artificial intelligence adoption

On 8 April, the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group on AI (“HLEG”) published its ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI. These guidelines supersede the draft guidelines issued in December 2018 (which we reported on in January). The draft guidelines have been revised following feedback of 500+ companies/people from an open consultation.

We have partnered with Smart Dubai to consider the future of AI governance

We have partnered with Smart Dubai to consider the future of AI governance

Could 2019 be the year Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) takes off? Around the world, governments are launching initiatives to consider the policy, governance, socio-economical and regulatory implications of AI. In this article, we will focus on one key area – AI ethics guidelines.

Ethics becomes a key focus for artificial intelligence adoption

European Commission publishes ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI

In the last few years, there has been an increasing focus on the need for adequate ethics guidance for the use of artificial intelligence and robots – something we have regularly written and spoken about. For example, in 2017, MEPs from the EU parliament’s legal affairs committee passing Mady Delvaux’s report into robotics and AI and Germany laid out a set of Ethical rules for automated and connected vehicular traffic. In 2018, more than 90% (1000+ signatories) at the Asilomar Conference agreed on a set of AI Principles


Challenging IT implementation - business meeting image

Challenging IT implementations - a UK reminder about the fundamentals for success

Whatever the sector, IT transformation can deliver superior services, development of dynamic business models, increased customer satisfaction, returns and cost savings. For success, co-operation and collaboration between customer and provider are essential, as is the customer committing appropriate executive and employee support and resources from the outset. This recent case underlines and provides a reminder of the Court’s view of their continuing importance.

Analysing blockchain risks

Analysing blockchain security risks to your supply chain

In the first article of our blockchain series, we explained how the use of blockchain technology had the potential to offer security benefits to its users. In this article we look at the main risk areas for a supply chain organisation to take note of when considering the potential roll out of a blockchain-technology based solution.


Diversified Industrials Sector Outlook 2019

In this outlook for the Diversified Industrials sector, we take a look at the key trends, legislation and issues we’re set to face in 2019 and the likely impact on businesses operating in the sector.



Webcast: The legal implications of using biometric information

Biometric data is used to identify an individual using that person’s unique biological characteristics. Unlike other forms of personal data that have been breached, biometric data cannot be changed, and therefore its theft could give rise to a host of common law claims against the parties responsible for holding it and, in certain jurisdictions, statutory claims.


Malaysia seeks to expand personal data protection

Malaysia will soon be joining the growing number of global jurisdictions that are adding specific data breach notification requirements to companies operating in Malaysia, re-emphasizing the need for multinational companies to have a global regulatory strategy when it comes to privacy and cybersecurity.

Warsaw at night

Poland implements comprehensive cybersecurity legislation

Poland, like China and Singapore, is the latest example of a nation that has passed far-reaching cybersecurity legislation to better ensure that its critical infrastructure is protected. Poland’s cybersecurity bill is a recognition that cybersecurity is not just about protecting personal data from exfiltration and misuse. Rather, it is also about protecting the availability and integrity of essential services.


CFIUS mandates filings for range of foreign investments in critical technology companies

CFIUS mandates filings for range of foreign investments in critical technology companies

In this article, we explore the new interim rules announced by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), resulting from the increased importance of critical technology. The new requirements apply to a broad range of transactions, including investments in US firms that are utilizing a range of technologies deemed critical in one of 27 industrial sectors including aerospace, defense and wireless communications.


Consequences of unpredictable code

Is semi-autonomous vehicle code becoming too complex? Alex Milner explores the risks and consequences of unpredictable code on our roads. With little regulation in place to restrain the development of computer-generated algorithms to ensure that potential implications are predictable, what more could, or should be done to ensure the safety and predictability of autonomous vehicles?

videocast: where the rubber meets the road

Videocast: where the rubber meets the road

In this videocast, Eversheds Sutherland (US) Partner Michael Nelson and Eversheds Sutherland (International) Partner Charlotte Walker-Osborn discuss legislative updates and observations in the US, the UK, Europe and beyond and considerations and issues related to vehicle data collection. 


The key to supply chain transparency? The pros and cons of blockchain

In the first article of our blockchain series, we explained how the use of blockchain technology could offer greater transparency to the participants at the various levels of a supply chain. In this article, we look at how this is achieved and the associated risks and benefits.

cruelty to robots

UK Government proposes powers to scrutinise foreign investment on national security grounds

The proposed new regime would enable the UK Government to intervene in a wider range of transactions, where it is concerned that the transaction would give rise to national security concerns. This includes advanced materials and manufacturing science; autonomous robotic systems, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

How to mitigate risk in your connected industrial supply chain: five key considerations

Blockchain technology and your supply chain: a risk analysis

Bitcoin and blockchain are set to have a great impact on all aspects of commerce, including the industrial sector. In this series of articles we will consider how blockchain technology is being increasingly used in the context of supply chain management, its benefits and the associated risks.


How to mitigate risk in your connected industrial supply chain: five key considerations

M&A - risks and opportunities from an IT perspective

When considering organisational change, through acquisition, merger or disposal, the effect on IT provision is something that should be front of mind, plainly from an operational point of view, but as importantly from the risks and opportunities that can arise from a legal perspective.

cruelty to robots

The Road to Zero 

The UK's Department for Transport has issued Road to Zero, which sets out a policy for delivering significant decarbonisation of transport, and putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacture of zero emission vehicles, with a target for new cars and vans to be effectively emission free by 2040. We've outlined the policy headlines within this article.


Whose fault is it, anyway?

Comment: more must be done to support the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles

In this article, partner Michael Grimes says that more needs to be done to support and encourage the transition from petrol and diesel to ultra-low emission vehicles sooner.

Videocast: Data manipulation

Videocast: data manipulation - an overview

The next generation of cyber threats—data manipulation attacks—is already here. In this videocast, Co-Head of Evesheds Sutherland's Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Practice, Michael Bahar, and partner Vicente Arias Máiz discuss what data manipulation attacks are; the importance of proactive planning to deal with them, and how low-tech solutions and high-tech solutions, such as blockchain technology, can help.


Component vs complete

On June 22, 2018, the US Supreme Court clarified the scope of permissible patent damages awards by holding that when a party is found liable under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f) for exporting components of a patented invention, foreign lost profits may be awarded. This legal alert examines the dispute between WesternGeco and ION, and the potential impact of the Court's decision.

padlock data

Cross-border data transfers for internal investigations—recapping The Sedona Conference Report

In May, The Sedona Conference released a comprehensive report that attempts to synthesize the best practices for companies, data protection agencies, and investigatory agencies in matters of cross-border data transfers in the context of internal and governmental investigations.

How to mitigate risk in your connected industrial supply chain: five key considerations

How to mitigate risk in your connected industrial supply chain: five key considerations

We are seeing a rise in the use of connected (IoT) devices, turning once traditional industrial manufacturing hubs into data-driven smart factories. Here, we visit five key risk areas for businesses to consider when introducing IoT solutions into their supply chains and how to mitigate or manage them.

cruelty to robots

Opinion | cruelty to robots

Stirred by the second season of HBO’s Westworld, Paul Bloom and Sam Harris query the potential impact of cruelty to machines which both exhibit general intelligence and share human aesthetics, and the extent to which it matters whether such machines are conscious.

Whose fault is it, anyway?

Whose fault is it, anyway?

Disruptive technology is having a profound effect on the diversified industrial supply chain – and this is only the beginning. It’s predicted that we will see more disruption in the industrial space in the next five years than we have in the last 20*, making it harder for the bigger players to quickly adapt their business models – leaving once unchartered territory open for SMEs.

California, Other States Fill Self-Driving Car Regulatory Gaps

California, other States fill self-driving car regulatory gaps

Eversheds Sutherland Partner Michael Nelson is quoted in this Law360 article regarding the recent hands-off decision by California to allow the testing of self-driving cars on public roads for the first time without a human present in the driver’s seat.
cybersecurity framework

NIST releases second draft of revised cybersecurity framework

Revising its guidance on internal assessments and highlighting the importance of managing cybersecurity within supply chains, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the second draft of Version 1.1 of the “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity”. The second draft brings NIST one step closer to adopting a revised Framework suitable for use by all industry sectors in managing and mitigating cybersecurity risk.

road, data

Commercial real estate should get ready for autonomous vehicles

From safer roadways to less stressed commutes and increased productivity, the potential benefits of autonomous vehicles (AVs) could be considered Utopian. In his article for the Daily Report, Eversheds Sutherland Associate Patrick Spook discusses the potential impact AVs will have on the way cities are designed and the way commercial real estate is developed.

the new electronic communications code

The New Electronic Communications Code: all you need to know 

Partner Damian Hyndman talks about the New Electronic Communications Code, and what impact it will have on the relationship between landowners/occupiers and operators.

Facing reality responsibly

Fake Data: facing reality responsibly

The global manufacturing sector has been hit by a series of scandals over recent months. Here, product liability specialists Peter Shervington and Richard Matthews discuss the severe knock-on effects this has had on industrial suppliers, and how to manage the contagion.

new rules for data processors and controllers

New rules for Data Processors and Data Controllers

Failure to comply with the new obligations relating to personal data breaches could expose industrials that deal in personal data to the risk of enforcement action, including potentially substantive fines and claims for compensation or damages.

how safe is safe enough?

Comment: how safe is safe enough?

There is a clear and urgent need to understand what standard of safety we are entitled to expect in the brave new world of driverless cars. Peter Shervington provides comment on the public perception of driverless technology.

Industrial Strategy supportive of driverless car technology

Industrial Strategy supportive of driverless car technology

The government plans to invest heavily into the automotive industry over the coming years, but given the potential risks to the automotive industry post-Brexit, will it be enough if a realistic deal is not agreed?

Industrial Strategy: what it means for diversified industrials

Industrial Strategy: what it means for diversified industrials

A note from partners Robin Johnson and Charlotte Walker-Osborn on the recently released Industrial Strategy white paper, which sets out a framework for UK growth post-Brexit and, indeed, in a post-industrial society.

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