Privacy Lessons: A Tale of Two Jobs

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In just the last two weeks, two high-profile jobs in the worlds ofprivacy and Internet public policy were filled, and the appointments saya lot about the companies, the candidates, and how two major industrynames have chosen to approach some of the thorniest policy issues of theday.

According to the National Journal, Google announced last week that it wasopening a new office in Washington, D.C. It will be devoted to lobbyingand public policy. Their choice to head this newly created office, AlanDavidson, is one of Washington's most respected technology policyadvocates.

About the same time, ChoicePoint hired Carol DiBattiste to be its newCPO. But we'll get into that in a minute. For now, let's focus onDavidson.

An MIT-educated programmer who developed software for the InternationalSpace Station, Davidson also holds a law degree from Yale. As associatedirector of the non-profit Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) formuch of the last decade, his hands-on technical expertise and top-drawerlegal skills have helped Davidson earn a reputation in Washington as anhonest broker who deftly balances the realities of business with theneeds of sound public policy.

I've known Alan almost since his first days at the CDT, where we usuallycollaborated, and occasionally clashed, on issues relating to spam,Internet privacy, and telecommunications policy. So at a personal level,I was very happy to see a friend moving to what will undoubtedly be anexciting new gig at Google.

But more than that, I also was very excited for Google, and what theirchoice says about them as a company.

I have