Microsoft's Legal Team Adds New Role: Privacy Lawyer

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 04, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As hackers continue to attack companies everywhere, Microsoft has appointed a privacy lawyer to lead the company in the battle against cybercrime.

Julie Brill, a former Federal Trade Commissioner, will oversee privacy and regulatory affairs for the company. She will have other responsibilities, including telecommunications regulations, corporate standards, and internet governance, but her appointment highlights Microsoft's emphasis on cybersecurity.

"As a company, the problem that perhaps concerns us the most in the cybersecurity space is the growing rise of nation state attacks," said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, during a recent speech in Brussels.

Advocate for Consumers

Smith, who speaks about cybersecurity threats around the world, said in a press release that Brill will help the company assure its customers that they can use the Microsoft Cloud "knowing that we will help meet their global technology regulatory needs."

Brill, who served on the FTC board for nearly six years, was an advocate for consumers. After completing work at Hogan Lovells, she will join Microsoft as vice president and deputy general counsel.

Among her tasks, she work with policy makers, regulators and customers to address privacy and data protection issues. In an interview with Big Law last year, Brill said data laws were still evolving and needed to improve.

"There's lots of reforms that would be helpful," she said. "We could use data breach notification at the federal level as long as it's robust."

"The New Battlefield"

Brill will report to Smith, who has made cybersecurity a primary topic for his speeches. At the "Digital Geneva Convention" in Brussels, he called on governments to work together to fight cybercrime.

"Cyberspace has become the new battlefield," he said. "As a result of all of this, we have discovered that we in the tech sector are on the frontlines."

The American Bar Association, for its part, is considering a program to certify lawyers are privacy law specialists.

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