Monday, September 10, 2012

Recent Rise in In-house Privacy Counsel Hires

Companies are increasingly hiring in-house counsel to solely address privacy issues. I am looking to speak to experts today about what might be prompting this new hiring, if this is a trend that we can continue to expect, and if all companies should consider having this position.

Good timing: a week and a half ago, hired its first-ever in-house privacy counsel. (Google, Apple, and Facebook already have one—in fact, Facebook has two.)

Big Data is becoming the lifeblood of corporate America. And with each new bit or byte comes a maze of privacy implications, each of which is just a blog post or congressional letter away from going viral and forever tarring your company’s reputation.

Fueled by the Big Data meme, company after company is pursuing every which way to harvest as much information about its customers as it can. Rare is the executive who declares, “Bring me less data.”

Indeed, the business to be in today is data mining. For example example, the Obama campaign employs a “chief scientist” to unearth patterns from its massive databases.

Of course, the more data you possess, the more questions you raise, the more scrutiny you draw, and the more you become a target. Concerns such as, Can we use these data in this way? Can we collect these data? What’s a reasonable amount of time to store these data? What are our obligations in the event of a data breach? have become so routine that it’s more effective to have a lawyer in-house rather than on retainer.

Addendum: Success!

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