Karin is a commercial lawyer who specializes in providing advisory services to companies in relation to corporate and internet law.
Karin has considerable experience in advising organizations subject to privacy protection laws in both Israel and Europe. She is skilled at drafting programs for compliance with the privacy protection regulations that apply to a wide range of organizations.
Karin’s practice also encompasses the provision of legal services to private companies under formation in relation to aspects of commercial and corporate law, as well as regulation. She provides these newly formed companies with legal guidance during their various commercial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, cooperation agreements, etc.
Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, (LL.B and B.A Business), 2010
Member of Israel Bar Association since 2012
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Protect Your Business by Learning How to Handle Data
We are living in the age of data and big data, where everyone wants to collect as much information as possible. The ability to analyze and monetize such information is a key strategy and selling point for many businesses.
However, this desire often collides with individuals’ right to privacy and the tremendous effects data leaks may have on them.
As a reaction to the use, misuse, and monetization of personal information, there is growing awareness of the individuals of their rights and growing motivation of regulators to provide individuals with tools to enforce their rights and deal with infringements.
The increase in privacy regulation around the globe, combined with the central role data and personal information play for a business, makes privacy regulation something that cannot be ignored.
In an attempt to assist businesses in addressing the privacy challenges they face, we prepared a short guide on the key principles of handling data.
For the guide, click here.
Considering an M&A Transaction? Don’t Forget to Conduct Privacy Due Diligence
The British privacy protection agency (the Information Commissioner's Office, or ICO) recently announced its intention to impose on international hotels chain Marriott a fine of about GBP 99 million for violating the GDPR, Europe’s new privacy protection legislation. The intended fine relates to a cyber event impacting the systems of the Starwood hotels group, which was acquired by the Marriott in 2016.
What is interesting about this case is that the relevant cyber event occurred in 2014, two years before Marriott completed the transaction to acquire Starwood. In its public announcement, the ICO focused primarily on the fact that Marriott did not conduct sufficient due diligence into the attacked company. This comment poses a strong reminder to companies entering into merger and acquisition transactions to include privacy aspects within their due diligence.
Conducting due diligence into matters of privacy has various purposes:
To ensure the acquired company is complying with the requirements of the privacy and date protection regulations that apply to it – This is important because violations revealed in the future may implicate the acquiring company, as was the case with Marriot. When inconsistencies as to the acquired company's compliance with privacy protection regulations surface, many times the acquirer will seek to address them through specific provisions in the acquisition agreement.
To review what data the acquired company holds – In the digital age, data constitutes a very important asset. Thus, the findings of such a review may affect the economic value of the transaction. On the other hand, the more plentiful and sensitive the data is, the greater the responsibility in maintaining it. Therefore, identifying the information held by the acquired company or activity enables the acquirer to assess the risks involved in maintaining the data.
To ensure transmission of the data to the acquirer is possible – Merger and acquisition transactions often lead to situations in which ownership of data is transferred from the seller to the acquirer. Many companies prepare for this in advance and include language that addresses issues of mergers and acquisitions in their disclosures to the data subjects. The matter may be more complex when parties to the transaction are located in different countries. In such instances, the acquirer must ensure the seller is permitted to export the data it holds in its origin country to the country where the acquirer is located.
To ensure the acquirer is permitted to realize its plans for the acquired data – It is likely that once the transaction is complete, the acquirer will seek to make additional uses of the data acquired and even share them with its affiliate companies. In some cases, this is one of the acquirer's primary goals for the transaction. It is possible due diligence will reveal that data subjects’ consent is required to expand the uses of the data about them, a task that is often impracticable. Therefore, this issue affects at times the structure of merger and acquisition transactions as well as their value.
To assess the costs involved in closing the compliance gaps that may come up – It is almost impossible to find a company that meets all the demands of the privacy protection laws to which it is subject. Due diligence will often expose compliance gaps the acquirer is not willing to accept, and it may seek to impose the expenses involved in closing these gaps on the seller.
To present responsible conduct in the case of a regulatory audit – Even if the acquired company or activity lacks privacy compliance, the actual performance of a meticulous due diligence may to some extent satisfy the regulator that the acquirer has conducted itself responsibly. To wit, the ICO’s announcement about Marriott hinted that if Marriott had been able to prove that it conducted satisfactory due diligence at the time of acquisition, the outcome of the investigation may have been less severe.
Although it is rare for privacy matter to cause merger and acquisition transactions to fail, in light of tightening enforcement in this area in Israel and around the world, the impact of privacy on such transactions is growing.
First-Time Fine Imposed for GDPR Violations Involving Employee Data Breach
The Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) recently imposed a EUR 150,000 fine on the international consulting firm PwC for its violations of the new European data protection regulations (the General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR).