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The Privacy Advisor | Raina talks leading privacy at the biggest names in tech Related reading: Notes from the IAPP Europe, 27 May 2022

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Kalinda Raina’s work in privacy has spanned some of the biggest names in technology — Nintendo, Apple and LinkedIn.

As Nintendo’s first global head of privacy, Raina, CIPP/US, played a key role in launching new video game technologies with privacy in mind. At Apple, where she led the Americas privacy team, Raina explored ways to enhance privacy protections for children. Now, as LinkedIn’s vice president and head of global privacy, she leads the company’s privacy team, overseeing compliance with laws and regulations around the world, establishing privacy standards and policies, conducting regulatory outreach, and implementing the company’s privacy compliance framework. 

The three companies, with different focuses in the technology space, share a commonality, Raina said — the importance each places on privacy.

LinkedIn's Vice President and Head of Global Privacy Kalina Raina, CIPP/US

“So much of this space is we are trying to figure out what is the right thing when no one has ever figured it out before, and sometimes the law doesn’t have all the answers,” Raina said. “So, I really enjoy being at companies where, from the leadership level on down, there is a value on data privacy and an understanding of why it matters and that makes it a lot easier to practice it.”

Over the years, both as a professional keyed into the space and as a mother bringing a unique perspective to the field, children’s privacy has become a particular area of passion for Raina. Her interest began in 1999 as a privacy law intern at the Center for Democracy & Technology when she worked on a range of topics, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

After working as a privacy associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and a senior privacy associate at Saul Ewing, Raina’s experience came into play at Nintendo, where she developed a parental consent mechanism in compliance with COPPA.

Raina joined Nintendo in 2006 as the company was launching its video game console Nintendo Wii with player-customized avatars and the handheld Nintendo DS product line, which included a built-in microphone that could be used for chatting with other players online during and between games.

The games were interactive for the first time, generating excitement and with it a range of privacy issues.

“It was this whole new set of issues around what content is appropriate for kids and how do we manage that,” she said. “And what was appropriate for hand-held interactive systems where you could chat, not just play against each other, you could message back and forth. It’s weird to think of now how extraordinary that was … It was a pretty extraordinary thing and all of that was sort of really thinking about the child experience and what was the kid focus, how do we make it friendly for kids, how do we make it safe for kids.”

Her children’s focus continued at Apple where among integrating privacy into innovations like the AppleWatch and Apple Pay, she helped to establish Family Accounts, creating a separate account ID for children on family devices. She also identified a way to obtain parental consent for applications attempting to be downloaded or purchased by their children.

“It’s a great way for us as parents to be able to have some oversight over what our kids are doing,” she said. “That was a really special part of what I did at Apple.”

When she joined LinkedIn in 2016, Raina led the company in a proactive approach to building out its global privacy program. LinkedIn’s 12-member privacy team is spread across Europe and the U.S., with two privacy engineering teams and a product privacy team built out to broaden the approach.

“It’s really exciting to see the company building across, not just in the legal space, but we are building this issue out across the company. It’s really something I’ve tried hard to build, this concept of a culture of privacy at the organization where it’s everyone’s job,” Raina said.

And while LinkedIn strives to connect professionals, Raina found a way to continue her advocacy for children’s privacy. With three kids — a teenager on one end and a first grader on the other — Raina said she sees “the full spectrum” of the impact of today’s technologies on children and teens. It inspired her to create a YouTube series for parents titled “Raising the Digital Future.” The short videos give parents tips “to try and make life a little bit easier and a little more guilt free over how kids are using technology.”

“As a privacy professional I felt very overwhelmed by how to keep track of what’s going on with my kids and how to keep them safe online, not just protecting their data but safe as well, and keeping them tech smart, aware of when they are seeing ads and what’s going on,” she said. “I thought if I was having this hard of a time and this is my full-time job, imagine parents who it’s not.”

She’s also writing a book, soon-to-be published by the IAPP, including insight from privacy leaders to help those in the community better understand children’s privacy and protections globally. The book includes information on COPPA in the U.S., a look at children’s privacy protections around the globe including in the European Union and Asian countries, gaming technologies, and more.

In her work over the years, Raina said she at times felt lost around the interconnection between “education privacy, kids’ privacy and international issues” and wanted to “create something that made it a little easier for the practitioner to be able to understand what laws apply and maybe even for parents in the privacy space to understand what laws apply to their kids’ privacy.”

Looking back on her work in the space and the growth of technology in those years, Raina said she’s proud that the groundwork she was a part of building since the early 2000s has played a role in where privacy stands today.

“It’s wonderful to see where the issues have come, how many people are paying attention to it, how much it’s built into the way company’s today think about their business,” she said. “It’s great.”

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash


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