By Angelique Carson, CIPP/US

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) has hired former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staffer Molly Crawford as its first policy director. Crawford will be tasked with “expanding and coordinating FPF’s focus on cutting-edge privacy issues.”

Crawford has spent the last eight years as a senior attorney at the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection within the Bureau of Consumer Protection. There, she led investigations into companies’ data protection and privacy practices and worked extensively in mobile privacy, data brokerage and online tracking. She also served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, advising staff on privacy legislation.

It’s a resume that can’t hurt when it comes to her new role.

“I worked at privacy issues though both a policy lens and government perspective and also through a law enforcement lens,” she said. “I certainly hope that my past experience at the FTC brings a different perspective and a different experience to inform the work here.”

FPF Director Jules Polonetsky, CIPP/US, said the need for a policy director is due to the FPF’s growth in the last six years to include 70 companies and many privacy academics and advocates. “Molly expands our leadership team to include someone who understands the FTC and the Hill and who can help advance consensus around best practices for consumer data.”

Speaking with The Privacy Advisor after just over two weeks on the job, Crawford is still learning its scope and parameters, but said her role will be to really expand the FPF’s bandwidth as a centrist organization developing practical solutions for privacy practitioners.

Crawford said she’s most excited to collaborate with people who are passionate about privacy and that there’s plenty of room for industry, policymakers, academics and consumer advocates to come together and “advance the ball.”

“I think the FTC is a great place, and I cherish and loved my experience there. But I think there is some more flexibility in being in my new position to do things you simply can’t accomplish in government,” she said. “One of those things, I think, is to collaborate with people and come up with new ideas to try and implement them in the community.”

Asked what topics she anticipates presenting a challenge in the immediate future, Crawford mentioned Do Not Track.

“It’s a dialogue that seems to be ongoing, and it’s one that I’m familiar with from my time at the FTC and on the Senate Commerce Committee,” she said. “I’m still optimistic that some sort of consensus can be forged.”

Read More by Angelique Carson:
Where Domestic Violence and Technology Collide
Warning Bells for an Enforcement Tsunami? Regulators and CPOs Weigh In
Facebook’s White Hat Program Helped Uncover Glitch
Former U.S. Rep Bono Joins Leibowitz to Co-Chair New Privacy Coalition


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