Interview with Fred Wilf

Episode 148: Defining Data Breaches – Interview with Fred Wilf

Founder of Wilftek LLC.

In this episode of My Quest for the Best, Fred Wilf discusses recent data breaches and the unique nature of privacy policies in the U.S., and explains what could cause a lawyer to develop such an interest in technology.

Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:

  • Why it’s essential for businesses to make customer security a priority
  • The ins and outs of Data Breach Notification Laws
  • How Privacy Laws differ from country to country
  • The reasons why continuing tech education is needed
  • How governments can encourage technological development

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

1:20 Wilf tells about his early work experience.

2:18 “Policy was always something that interested me in terms of how the policies chosen by governments and by people affected others. And in many ways, long term policy decisions will lead to short term life and death decision.”

3:30 [On an early fascination with technology] “I was always a bit of a tinkerer, and known for pulling stuff apart from an early age.”

4:44 “People didn’t understand why a lawyer would have any interest in computers.”

5:22 [Profiles of the Ideal Client] – “There are are several profiles for my ideal client. One profile is the funded startup, they have some money, they’re able to carry out their strategy, they’re moving towards sales and revenue positive as quickly as possible.”

5:42 “For the larger companies that I work with, a number of Fortune 500 companies, I tend to be more specific as to their needs, filling in where they don’t already have someone in house or outside.”

6:35 Healthcare company case study, and how Wilf used his expertise in privacy and copyright law to help them problem solve.

8:00 The two ways Wilf helps with clients.

8:51 Wilf describes some common areas of legal misunderstanding.

9:38 “Privacy law has the foundation from country to country, state to state, but implemented in a very different from manner from state to state and country to country, and most people don’t know when they get into this how to navigate those changes.”

10:36 “One of the principles in privacy law is that a company or entity that controls individual personal info must explain to those individuals how that information is being used, processed, and stored.”

11:22 The importance of transparency, and privacy policies, in handling consumer information.

12:45 “Users can certainly educate themselves and have a better understanding of how their data is being used. Maybe that will change who they share data with, and maybe it won’t.”

13:24 “The transparency is not there because all consumers will use it, because frankly consumers won’t, the transparency is there for those users who want to control how their data is being used.”

13:50 How UBER failed to be transparent in their use of consumer data.

16:15 The case of Target’s privacy breach, and how the technology of the time couldn’t have prevented it, but whether the executive decision makers could have.

17:19 “One aspect that needs to change is that businesses need to use as much security as they can afford.”

17:44 “Consumers need to understand that some of these attacks can be prevented, some of these attacks, I don’t think they could’ve been prevented really.”

18:11 “The reason why we know about the Target case, and this is an interesting aspect of policy, is that we now have a series of laws called data breach notification laws where Target, or any other company who is breached, is required to notify all the people whose information is in the database that’s been hacked.”

19:18 [On Data Breach Notification Laws] – “If if wasn’t for that change of policy, I’m not sure we’d have as much interest in privacy or security that we have today,”

20:31 The differences between US and EU Privacy Law.

23:52 “Different governments in different countries have their very different view on foreign privacy.”

24:08 “The more stringent a privacy law is, the more expensive it is to implement those laws to the businesses who have to implement them.”

25:56 “Some of the technology needs to be changed so that clicking on a link…isn’t going to affect the servers containing personal information.”

27:05 “Whatever you’re doing with policy, whatever you’re doing in technology, this has real world consequences for users.”

28:18 “Information Technology is still relatively premature.”

28:53 “There’s still a huge gap between the users of the technology, which today is everybody, and those who use the technology well.”

29:27 “Because we don’t know how the technology works, it’s on the tech professionals to make the technology easier to use and more bulletproof.”

31:53 “The government has shown, perhaps wisely, that it’s not very good at defining technology standards, they’ve mostly left that up to the tech companies to define their own standards.”

33:00 How governments can encourage the development of technological standards.

34:32 “Governments, through it’s contracting process, and buying technology, can encourage the developments of better, stronger, more secure systems.”

35:10 Sources where people can stay abreast of privacy and security issues.

Expert Bio

Fred Wilf is an attorney who represents people and companies for technology and intellectual property issues. Briefly working as a programmer during college, Fred used that experience as a spur to investigate the intersection of technology, intellectual property and business for the last 30+ years. About half of Fred’s experience has been in large law firms (Saul Ewing and Morgan Lewis), while the other half has been in small and boutique law, firms, including his current practice, Wilftek LLC. For some companies, Fred is the outside general counsel, helping with any and all legal issues that may arise. For other companies, especially the larger companies, Fred focuses on particular types of technology agreements and consulting. In addition to his work for clients, Fred writes, speaks and teaches on topics in technology law, and provides pro bono legal services to charities and other non-profits.

For more information, visit Fred Wilf’s company website.

Contact Info for Fred Wilf

Web address: http://www.wilftek.com/

Travels from: Worcester, PA

Phone: (215) 205-0059

Follow, connect, and learn from this guest’s social media channels:

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Resources Mentioned by Fred Wilf on My Quest for the Best:

USPTO.gov

copyright.gov

ftc.gov

iapp.org