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The Data Privacy and Portability in Financial Technology Symposium celebrates the Michigan Technology Law Review’s 25th Anniversary by hosting an event dedicated to cutting-edge scholarship at the intersection of technology and the law. Specifically, this symposium is designed to examine the inherent tensions between securing privacy rights and the ease at which transactions occur, facilitated by new innovative technologies.
Data portability is the idea that a consumer should own his or her own data and should be able to tell companies to use it, transfer it to another company, or destroy it. Every day, hundreds of millions of transactions occur between parties. Nearly everyone uses financial products that harvest data—credit cards, online shopping, stock market trends. New technologies allow people and organizations to record, analyze, and indefinitely store data points associated with these transactions more easily than ever before.
Many of those in the financial technology world assert that this aggregation of consumer data should be able to be sold to and owned by third parties. This would increase competition in the financial service sector and facilitate the development of more complex algorithms used to deliver financial services. Collecting information on consumer habits could lead to innovation in predicting market trends and could allow custom tailoring to individual consumer needs. Many banks, however, contend that opening up consumer information to third parties raises serious risks of fraud and abuse. Both sides of the debate advocate for the consumer’s interest: banks on the grounds of security and privacy, and the fintech sector on the grounds of access and innovation.
The symposium will address the legal issues implicated by the exciting and rapidly developing world of financial technology, such as: Who owns a customer’s financial data? How will the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) influence how companies handle customer data? How can U.S. policymakers construct a sensible policy framework suited to the particular regulatory and technical attributes of the U.S. consumer financial services sector? And how should we conceive of increased liability for companies and what does that mean for organizations’ relationships with consumers, stockholders, lenders and the like?