Top Legal Minds from Google, Intel, ACLU, EFF, Government and leading law firms addressed digital privacy at Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal event Feb. 13.

A packed room at Benson listening to the first panel discussion.

A packed room at Benson listening to the first panel discussion.

The proliferation of personal data on digital devices has raised a growing number of legal questions. Witness the battle to get Apple to unlock the iPhones of the San Bernardino terrorists, or the seizing of cell phones by police in the recent Trump protests. Companies are also interested in striking the right balance between monetizing customer data and respecting their digital privacy.

A Feb. 13 evening event co-organized by the Santa Clara High Tech Law Journal of Santa Clara University School of Law and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) addressed questions about the boundaries and best practices in digital privacy for law enforcement, privacy professionals, and businesses. The event featured speakers from a cross section of the privacy profession, including lawyers from corporations, law firms, government, and to members of non-profit organizations and from the press who are on the frontlines of upholding our civil liberties. They spoke to a packed room of more than 100 audience members. The event was sponsored by the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend.

Rafae Bhatti, senior business editor of the High Tech Law Journal, kicked off the evening, and noted that this event—organized in collaboration with the IAPP as a Knowledgenet and attended by a large group of practicing industry professionals— marked the launch of a yearlong speaker series of the Journal.

Jordan Jones, a partner at Kilpatrick, spoke during opening session about the significance of data privacy and how Kilpatrick views this as an important area of focus for their firm given the impact of data protection and privacy issues on consumers and businesses alike.

The first panel of the event featured Ruby Zefo, VP, chief privacy & security counsel at Intel; Joanne McNabb, director of privacy education and policy at the California Attorney General’s office; Mark Webber, a managing partner at Fieldfisher; and Lothar Determann, a partner at the law firm Baker & McKenzie, discussing how businesses should design their privacy policies and practices to balance access to consumer digital data with consumer privacy rights. Chris Conley, a privacy attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union, moderated the panel.

McNabb emphasized the importance of including privacy in modern technologies such as the Internet of Things. Webber, whose firm specializes in European privacy, provided the audience an overview of what to expect under the upcoming GDPR, a European data privacy regulation. Determann talked about privacy implications in the area of connected cars, and answered several audience questions on the topic.

In another session, panelists including Nicole Jones, senior law enforcement & security counsel at Google; Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation; Tom Flattery, deputy dstrict attorney at the Santa Clara County High Tech Unit; and Todd Hinnen, a partner at Perkins Coie, discussed how companies balance consumer privacy rights with law-enforcement access to consumer data. That topic has became particularly important in the wake of recent high profile cases, such as Apple v. FBI, and the debate on encryption. The group was moderated by Cyrus Farivar, senior business editor at ArsTechnica.

Jones discussed the current legal landscape as it relates to law enforcement requests from the government, and suggested that new laws may be needed to provide more clarity. Crocker offered the perspective of EFF who filed amicus briefs in Apple v FBI and similar cases, challenging the reach of law enforcement to access consumer data stored on their personal devices. Hinnen provided a countering perspective, explaining the position of law enforcement and their legitimate needs to access the data. He shared his prior experience as a federal prosecutor in dealing with such requests, and explained the legal requirements they must satisfy. A candid question and answer session followed the panel.

The event was organized in collaboration with the High Tech Law Institute, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and the Privacy Law Student Organization. The IAPP offered CPE credits and the University offered CLE credits to the attendees of the program.

A video recording of the program is available here.

Press coverage:
Google Lawyer Says New Laws Needed to Govern Cloud Data, The Recorder.

Dean Kloppenberg giving welcoming remarks.

Dean Kloppenberg giving welcoming remarks.

About Santa Clara University School of Law:
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see