Microsoft’s Privacy Shop Gains Ex-FTC Commissioner Brill

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By Daniel R. Stoller

Former FTC Commissioner Julie Brill is leaving Hogan Lovells LLP to become head of privacy and data protection for Microsoft Corp., the digital technology and software giant announced April 28.

Microsoft’s global presence, broad technology ventures and enterprise information business are accompanied by demanding privacy and data security governance and compliance issues.

Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, said in an April 28 statement that Brill’s privacy chops will be helpful in navigating “global regulatory needs” for Microsoft’s “cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence” solutions.

Brill will join the Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft this summer as its corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for privacy and regulatory affairs. In addition to overseeing the privacy group, Brill will work with external policymakers and internal teams to advise on telecommunications, corporate and internet governance legal and policy issues.

Brill told Bloomberg BNA April 28 that she will bring her experience dealing with “data protection authorities around the globe, as well as other U.S. federal regulators, regulators in the states” and consumer groups to her “role leading Microsoft’s global privacy and regulatory affairs team.” Microsoft’s “commitment to privacy, their willingness to stand up for customers and their focus on offering constructive solutions to new challenges” helped guide her move to the company, she said.

Microsoft is the world’s third largest technology company with a $524.2 billion market capitalization, Bloomberg data show. It is also a major player inside the beltway. Microsoft has spent $2.3 million in lobbying so far in 2017 which is up 14 percent over the same period last year, according to Bloomberg Government data.

Washington to West Coast

The move comes only a year after Brill left the Federal Trade Commission for Hogan Lovells where she was co-leader of the firm’s privacy and cybersecurity practice in Washington.

Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, Brill, a Democrat, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to serve as a FTC commissioner and took office in 2010. During her time at the FTC, Brill was particularly active on consumer privacy issues, such as championing privacy by design, investigating mobile applications privacy and reining in the use of personal information by data brokers.

Brill was the senior deputy attorney general and chief of consumer protection and antitrust for the North Carolina Department of Justice directly before joining the FTC. Before that, she served as an assistant attorney general for consumer protection and antitrust for the state of Vermont for over 20 years where she focused, among other things, on credit reporting and financial privacy issues, data breach notification and Social Security number protection.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dStoller@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

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