Lawyers are trained in reading, understanding, interpreting and advising on laws and legal compliance programs, and defending their clients from litigants and regulators. Privacy laws, everywhere in the world, are vague, so they leave much room for legal interpretations. The lawyers’ skill set is becoming more and more central to the role of privacy leadership. Moreover, lawyers benefit from attorney-client privileged communications internally, which is becoming an absolutely essential mechanism for privacy lawyers to have deep, unfettered, unfiltered exchanges of information and advice with their clients.
Peter Fleischer has a good summary piece on the (miserable) state of online privacy policies today. As he writes:
I entirely, fully, wholeheartedly agree: most policies today are absolute garbage. I actually read a lot of them – and research on social media policies will be online and available soon! – and they are more often than not an elaborate act of obfuscation than something that explains, specifically and precisely, what a service does or is doing with the data that is collected.
The thing is, these policies don’t need to be as bad as they are. It really is possible to bridge ‘accessible’ and ‘legalese’ but doing so takes time, care, and effort.
And fewer lawyers.