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FTC Commissioner Known For Privacy Work Joins Hogan Lovells

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill joined Hogan Lovells on April 1, but it's no joke that the privacy-minded lawyer will succeed Privacy and Cybersecurity practice co-director and founding partner Chris Wolf as co-director of the practice. We caught up with Julie about going into private practice and her evolving work on privacy and cybersecurity.


As co-director of Hogan Lovells's Privacy and Cybersecurity practice, Julie will share the leadership role with Marcy Wilder, co-director of the Privacy and Cybersecurity practice; Harriet Pearson, leader of the firm’s Cybersecurity Solutions Group and Cyber Risk Services business unit; and Eduardo Ustaran, a partner in the firm’s London office, and leader of the firm’s European data protection practice.

"I'm looking forward to using my knowledge and experience to help companies and other stakeholders understand the complicated regulatory and policy landscape involving policy and data security," Julie tells us, in matters on the federal level with the FTC, FCC and CFPB; down to the state level (states are very active in data protection and privacy, including drone and biometric legislation, SSN use, and data security and data breach notification), and out to the global level (particularly with regard to transatlantic data flows).


Julie was appointed to the FTC by President Obama and unanimously confirmed as a commissioner in '10. Before serving on the Commission, she was an Assistant Attorney General in the States of North Carolina and Vermont for over 20 years. (A Princeton and NYU Law grad, she started out as an associate at Paul Weiss.) One of her very first cases in the consumer protection division of the Vermont AG's office in the '90s was a policy matter involving credit reporting agencies that fed into concerns about inaccuracies in credit reports. It led to the '96 revision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, for which Julie testified in Congress. "That was my introduction to privacy and data issues," Julie says. "It's been a very rapid trajectory since then.

"The Snowden revelations "in some ways, were an important turning point in the discussions about how to ensure consumer data protection, particularly that European data is protected when it comes through to the US."

The revelations led to an accelerated replacement of Safe Harbor, which the European Court struck down and said was not a valid transfer mechanism. Julie was very involved in the discussions of Safe Harbor's replacement, Safe Shield. As an FTC commissioner, she helped US companies and stakeholders understand privacy issues in Europe. She also spent a lot of time in Europe describing how data privacy and protection works in the US, Julie tells us. (Most European countries operate with one black-letter law; the US uses a mash-up that includes Constitutional principles, common law, FTC acts, and state law.)

"I helped them understand that we in the US are not the Wild West when it comes to privacy. Things could be improved, yes; they could improve their system as well, and they are working on that, through the General Data Protection Regulation, which will come online in two years." She also helped US companies and stakeholders understand privacy issues in Europe.