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The Privacy Advisor | Brill resigns from FTC, heads to private practice Related reading: Brill: Let’s Have an “Honest Dialogue”




The FTC announced today Commissioner Julie Brill will resign from her position on March 31. She'll head to private practice, according to the press release, and the IAPP has learned she'll head to Hogan Lovells as co-director of the Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. 

Brill, a Democrat, was sworn in at the FTC in 2010 after being appointed by President Barack Obama. She's been one of the more outspoken commissioners, particularly in the press and on issues including Internet privacy, the FCC's proposed broadband rules, the former Safe Harbor negotiations and now Privacy Shield, Big Data and children's privacy, among other issues. 

"Commissioner Brill has been an unwavering advocate for consumers and competition during her six-year tenure at the Federal Trade Commission," FTC Chair Edith Ramirez said in the FTC announcement. "Commissioner Brill's expertise in consumer protection, privacy, and antitrust has been an asset to the agency, and we are sorry to see her leave. We wish her well on her next steps."

Right up to this announcement, Brill has been vocal and outspoken on privacy matters. For example, Brill recently weighed in on the Apple v. FBI controversy, The Wrap reported. Not one to mince words, Brill criticized what she called "the magical thinking" taking place "among some in law enforcement that back doors can be created, that devices can be hacked into in a good way but not in a bad way." 

In fact, Brill frequently spoke at privacy and data protection events globally. A look at her active Twitter feed indicates weekly engagements and open exchanges with both critics and colleagues. At the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in 2014, Brill applauded privacy pros' efforts "on the front lines" of the issues and discussed the agency's views on data protection and privacy, calling for baseline legislation, a push she'd made to Congress as well, to level the playing field for consumers being tracked online and a more ethical use of Big Data. 

You can see here the conversation she had with Article 29 Working Party Chair and CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin at the IAPP Data Protection Congress in 2014: 

Brill also championed a call to Congress in 2013 to legislate a "Reclaim Your Name" program to respond to the ways Big Data takes advantage of consumers. She called on technologists, computer scientists and engineers to help develop and create technological solutions to the problem. 

Her impending absence from the commission means a sizeable gap remains; not only because Brill was outspoken and active, but also because a vacancy in the five-seat commission already exists with the departure of Commissioner Joshua Wright last summer. Now, there are two open seats, and many have speculated another nominee will not be appointed under President Barack Obama’s tenure. 

Look for more coverage from The Privacy Advisor on the impact of Brill's resignation and the future of the FTC.


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