Carrier IQ GC is Making Smart Calls About Data Privacy
Who you gonna call when you need help tracking the intelligence of the intelligence trackers? Magnolia Mansourkia Mobley, thats who. Tech company Carrier IQ got the message that they needed an experienced top legal operator, and hired Mobley to be chief privacy officer and general counsel.
Carrier provides smartphone data to carriers for the purpose of diagnosing service problems such as dropped calls and undelivered messages. The company was embroiled in controversy for months by the time it brought Mobley on: In November 2011 a software researcher with a YouTube account aired the scoop on just what kinds of data it was collecting, and there was an eruption of outrage. The company has since defended its technology as wholly compliant with the law.
Mobley had a considerable reputation for work in the privacy arena by the time a recruiter tracked her down just when I felt like listening. The company has been discussing its privacy approach since the start-up launched in 2005, Mobley says, adding that public attention only brought the issue to the forefront.
When I came on, I let them know that I wasnt going to bet my career and my integrity on a PR move, Mobley says. So we talked about how I could play a very specific role within the company.
Since her arrival from telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc., Mobley has taken on a broad range of responsibilities with her new employer. She makes the calls on all legal matters, in addition to working on a total overhaul of Carriers data protection and privacy program.
Mobley got her J.D. from California Western School of Law after studying economics at George Mason University. In 2000 she joined the legal department of MCI Communications Corp. She continued to work with MCI when it merged with WorldCom and after it was acquired by Verizon. When she began with MCI, privacy was just one of many legal areas she was assigned. At Verizon, however, Mobley was appointed to lead the privacy division of its corporate legal department. Thats when she became a specialist. Mobley is a certified information privacy professional and a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
This type of work is growing and changing minute by minute, hour by hour, she says. Depending on where you are in the world, theres a very different paradigm in place. In the U.S. we dont have an overarching policy. That means that in deciphering regulation, she has to consider factors including age, types of devices, and region. To be aware of all those and to understand the impact they have on an organization is pretty rare, she says. Its challenging and fun for me, to have my hand in all of that.
Mobley also advocates for her company and its customers. While Carrier is based in Mountain View, California, Mobley calls it a virtual business. Right now, she lives outside Washington D.C., where she can dial in to discussions and lobby for or against legislature when she feels its appropriate.
Bringing her institutional expertise to a small, growing company is exciting, Mobley says. Theres a lot to be learned from starting with something thats a small business and helping it grow, she says.