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Facebook Poaches Privacy Counsel from Yahoo
Facebook Inc. has poached a new privacy counsel from rival Yahoo Inc. Joshua Smith, who had been a senior legal director of privacy at Yahoo, will share the title of lead privacy counsel at Facebook with Edward Palmieri, who has served in that role for two years.
"Working on privacy issues at Facebook is a tremendous professional opportunity, and it's one that will be full of interesting and cutting-edge legal issues," Smith said in an emailed statement.
Smith had been at Yahoo for almost six years before joining Facebook on Feb. 13. He began his legal career as an associate at Chicago-based Peterson & Ross in 1999 after graduating from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. In May 2006, he moved to Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, another Chicago-based firm, as an associate.
Smith reports to Deputy General Counsel Colin Stretch, who oversees litigation and joined the company in February 2010. Also on Stretch's team is Palmieri, who joined in April 2010 from Sprint, where he was deputy chief privacy officer.
After settling Federal Trade Commission charges last November that it failed to keep users' information private, Facebook split its chief privacy officer role. It named Michael Richter CPO for product management in Silicon Valley, and Erin Egan CPO for policy, based in Washington, D.C.
But the site's privacy issues are far from resolved. Facebook has to submit to privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years as part of the FTC settlement. And it's still facing dozens of privacy-related purported class actions in federal and state courts across the country, including about two dozen in the Northern District of California alone.
Facebook also hired Spencer Gusick as a lead IP counsel this month. Gusick had been an assistant general counsel at Oakland-based Pandora Media Inc. for less than a year. Before joining Pandora he had been director of legal affairs at TiVo Inc. in Alviso from 2007 to 2011, and a commercial transactions attorney at Microsoft Corp. from 2004 to 2007.
This article originally appeared in The Recorder.