As a prosecutor in the Navy’s Trial Service Office, Adam Palmer caught the case of a sailor who had downloaded child pornography onto his personal computer. Although he didn’t know it then, Adam had found a mission—and a career. Adam’s expertise in prosecuting Internet crimes against children led to a job with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And four months ago, he became General Counsel at Cyveillance, a Rosslyn company that monitors the Internet for threats to private business.
Adam took the Navy job, where he worked from 2000-03, for the trial experience. (Getting posted to sunny Pearl Harbor was added bonus.) His first case involved a charge of shoplifting at the Navy Exchange; by his second year, he was lead counsel on a double homicide.
Adam is the first in-house lawyer at Cyveillance, which scours the Internet for everything from “phishing” schemes (in which scammers post links and websites in the name of legitimate businesses), leaks of trade secrets, and abuse of trademarks to auctions of stolen credit cards and threats against corporate executives. Cyveillance is the rare entity dealing with Internet security through the private sector, Adam says, rather than by use of law enforcement.
At Cyveillance, Adam will continue some of the work he was doing as Director of the Office of Legal Counsel at NCMEC—e.g., closely following policies developed by ICAAN, the organization that coordinates global Internet operations. While a more public, transparent system can help identify the Internet criminals chased by Cyveillance and NCMEC, privacy advocates are pushing for measures that would, for instance, restrict access to information regarding who registers a domain name (which any member of the public can currently get through www.whois.sc).
Adam is teaching a winter-semester class on Internet crimes at Washington & Lee Law School with Yahoo! Associate GC Elizabeth Banker. As Adam found in the Navy, “people are always learning about these issues on the job”; it makes sense, he says, to give law students exposure to them first. Adam continues to give talks on prosecuting Internet crimes against children for the Navy, other law enforcement officials, and organizations like the National Law Center for Children & Families. He most recently presented to New York City prosecutors.
The connections between NCMEC and Cyveillance don’t stop there. Part of Adam’s job is to consult with Cyveillance’s customers about how to stop Internet threats to their businesses. Adam can’t act as their attorney, so he’s developing a small network of outside counsel to which he can refer customers for litigation or other legal assistance. Who is he tapping for the assignments? Two of the four attorneys that Adam uses did pro bono work for NCMEC. As with Adam, their charitable work on a challenging issue ended up being a good career move, too.