Thirteen years ago, Noga Rosenthal, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, was navigating the somewhat new social media landscape, addressing emerging technologies, debating issues in the advertising technology industry from their beginning, and helping to create policy in the growing area.
Serving then as a member of the Network Advertising Initiative’s board of directors, and senior vice president and general counsel of digital marketing company 24/7 Real Media and Xaxis, Rosenthal said the industry grew more complicated, from cookies and device fingerprinting to use of sensitive and personal data, and privacy grew from 10% to 50% of her role.
“I started going to (Washington,) D.C. and educating legislative staff about privacy and adtech and how we worked. A lot of times it was explaining to them that sometimes the things they were proposing in their bills technologically didn’t work,” Rosenthal said. “There was a lot of education, and we’re still seeing that challenge today.”
Now, as chief privacy officer and general counsel at television advertising and technology company Ampersand, Rosenthal is building a privacy program from scratch as the technology is built out. The U.S.-based company has offices throughout the country and reaches 80 million households across 165 applications and networks.
“We’re building our product from the bottom up and that to me has been huge. It’s a massive advantage to building the advertising and technology platform where I have a voice from the beginning,” she said. “I’m not trying to put in rules around privacy halfway through the process.”
Rosenthal began her career as corporate associate at DLA Piper before transitioning to assistant vice president, senior attorney at art auction company Sotheby’s. She said with luck and hard work, she landed at 24/7 Real Media, where she was first brought on board as a temp attorney and then offered a permanent position after three weeks. She then joined NAI and landed at Epsilon as chief privacy officer before moving to Ampersand in 2018.
“I’ve taken what I learned from 24/7, from my time at NAI, and my time at Epsilon and implemented it here in the TV world where they didn’t really work with data insights before,” Rosenthal said. “And I’m working with a team that’s open to privacy discussions, that understands how privacy needs to be core to what we are doing.”
Privacy is “a company effort” at Ampersand and Rosenthal regularly works with other teams to help them understand privacy and its importance to the company’s operations.
“My teams, they are my net. They help me catch things and make sure we stay in compliance with the laws,” she said.
Throughout her career, Rosenthal said she’s learned “you can’t do it on your own.”
“My engineers have helped me, I’ve sat in on project roadmap discussions, so having your core business peers understand why privacy is crucial was key. That took training, that took talking to them, that took learning about the business,” she said. “But doing that takes guts and I’ve seen a lot of times that people are scared of working in the grey, they are scared of tackling the new business.”
Having a network of privacy professionals to turn to, some in varying industries, has also been key to her growth in the privacy field, said Rosenthal.
“Having your industry peers, they understand cookies, they understand when you talk about these complex issues, they get what you are saying. Adtech has all these acronyms, they get it,” she said. “Having said that, when you shift over to other industries, what ends up happening is they’ve looked at things differently and that helps you think through issues in a new light. That’s huge.”
The privacy market today is “so hot,” said Rosenthal, who advised general counsels looking for privacy professionals to “find that attorney that is hungry, that understands your business, that understands the technology especially, and have them train to become that privacy person for you.”
“A lot of times, privacy officers today fell into privacy. There was no privacy course in my law school. It’s something relatively brand new in terms of a lot of companies are now facing privacy laws and regulations,” Rosenthal said. “Don’t be afraid. It’s a great field. It’s so interesting. But it’s not for everybody. If you need clear cut laws, this is not the area of law for you, but if you want to be building policy, this is the place to do it.”
Photo by La-Rel Easter on Unsplash
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