Apple Hires (Another) Privacy Counsel

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Apple has made a very interesting new hire in Sabrina Ross, an attorney who now holds the title "Privacy Counsel." Her LinkedIn profile shows some experience that looks very useful to Apple. AppleInsider spotted the hire through Ms. Ross's LinkedIn profile, which shows experience with privacy policies and social media work, in addition to being a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US):

 A certified privacy professional, CIPP/US, I have experience with a wide-range of Internet and information law matters involving privacy and data protection, online brand protection, electronic surveillance, defamation, information security, cloud computing, social media, locational privacy, e-commerce, and national security. I am passionate about addressing these issues with both business acumen and an eye towards litigation strategy.

Meet Sabrina Ross, a new hire at Apple.

This appears not to be the first of Apple's hires along these lines; Leota Tennant also has "Privacy Counsel at Apple Inc" listed on her LinkedIn profile, along with an impressive list of privacy/security concerns. Being a legal position at Apple, that constitutes two levels of "I can't talk about it" to navigate around, so we may never know what Ms. Ross is working on, but it should shape up to be one of the more compelling entries on her LinkedIn profile.

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Let's be honest, it's fun to speculate about why Apple needed a very particular set of skills. There's privacy policy and infosec experience, both perennially useful, but Ms. Ross also has social media and cloud computing listed too. Maybe Apple is taking another crack at social media in some way? Perhaps they need a privacy professional as they find success in some of the stricter regions of the world. Or maybe "online brand protection" and "defamation" skills make her good at fighting patent trolls.

Her last position was with a health care company, so start the timer on "OMG IOS8 HEALTHBOOK PLUS IWATCH FTW" speculation...oh wait. AppleInsider started there. Nevermind.

It's smart in this day and age to have privacy counsel on hand, particularly when one calls out the NSA, then pokes them some more. And after my recent look at the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, it's nice to see women hired even if the positions aren't listed on Apple's leadership page.

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I have this faint hope that Apple is getting its ducks very carefully in order because they are planning to a launch a major advertising campaign that would highlight user privacy as the major differentiator between Apple’s ecosystem and Google’s (and Facebook’s).

“You are not our product, you are our customer.”  One can dream.

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