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Privacy Law and Information Security: An Interview with Robert Brownstone on KUCI

June 27, 2007

Robert D. Brownstone, Law and Technology Director at Fenwick & West, was the featured guest privacy expert on Privacy Piracy, a weekly radio show broadcast from UC Irvine.

Brownstone began his one hour interview by explaining that, from its inception, Fenwick & West clients have motivated the firm to become a more technology-savvy firm. "Our clients are very hi-tech, and the firm is constantly trying to raise the bar at the behest of its clients."

As a result, Fenwick & West fills a unique position that requires Brownstone to master the legal as well as technological aspects of databases, software and the Internet. He frequently teams up with in-house experts like Kevin Moore, Director of Information Technology, so that they can advise clients as a unit.

"We try to do the 'mind meld' so to speak for each other." Brownstone explained, "Our IT group has become very interested in the law side of things, particularly regarding information security and discovery, and I've become more interested in the technology."

Brownstone's clients are able to develop stronger security policies when they combine law and technology. "You cannot just take the approach that lawyers are from Mars, IT are from Venus," he argued. "We urge Legal and IT to get together and think through what they're doing.

When asked what measures smaller companies can take, Brownstone highlighted the value of employee education and knowing what kind of information was stored in company databases. He also suggested that large and small companies protect themselves by destroying unnecessary data, encrypting files, and erasing metadata from email attachments.

Listen to the entire interview with Privacy Piracy radio host Mari Frank.