Our latest series will introduce you to a new TRUSTe employee every week to give you an inside look at the talented, knowledgeable and friendly people who work at TRUSTe.
Name: Ray Everett
Job title: Principal Consultant and Director of Product for Compliance Solutions
How long have you worked at TRUSTe?: 9 months.
What did you do prior to working at TRUSTe? Prior to TRUSTe, I managed advertising and search privacy issues at Yahoo!, and before that was general manager of the privacy monitoring service at Keynote Systems. All told, I have nearly 20 years of privacy experience, including over a decade of privacy-related consulting for more than two dozen Global 2000 corporations and numerous start-up ventures.
Describe your current role and how your career in privacy has changed over time: My interest in privacy began in the mid-1990s when I became involved in an incident that became somewhat legendary in early Internet lore: the infamous “Green Card Spam” wars of 1994 (chronicled here). Those early battles over the appropriate ways to advertise on the Internet sparked my curiosity around how this evolving medium could be used — and abused. While attending law school, I hoped to learn more about privacy, but at that point most privacy law was still very much centered around issues like paparazzi stalking the rich and famous and peeping toms harassing average folk. As I became more deeply involved in law and policy issues around Internet privacy, I was appointed as the first US Corporate Chief Privacy Officer for an early behavioral advertising network called AllAdvantage, where we had to build a complex browser plug-in to enable the kind of targeting and ad delivery capabilities that are intrinsic to today’s basic web experience.
What do you like most about working here?: If you’re passionate about privacy issues, there’s no better place to be than TRUSTe. It’s a company built on fostering strong privacy practices, and that focus has led the company to build a team that consists of people who have spent huge portions of their careers innovating in the privacy space. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more talented group of people who have thought more deeply about privacy innovation and whose work embodies some of the smartest ways to tackle the market’s biggest privacy challenges.
Why do you think online privacy is an important issue?: Internet technology is enabling products and services that are changing society and the quality of human life globally. Essential to the continued growth and innovation is the comfort and safety of the audience for those exciting new capabilities. Privacy was an early challenge for Internet adoption, and every day people have more and more reasons to question how and why they should entrust their information online. The challenges of privacy are as big as they’ve ever been and are only getting bigger. Now is a great time to be working in this field.
What are some hot issues in the privacy space right now? Behavioral targeting and tracking, especially on mobile devices remain a hot topic and a pressing issue. The explosion of data enabled by the “Internet of Things” is very much a part of that challenge, as is the closely related topic of “big data” and how data scientists should factor privacy into the amazing things they’re discovering while crunching ever-larger data sets.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?: I’m deeply passionate about wine. In my spare time, I study as much as I can about the wines of different regions and the grapes from which they’re made. When I’m not working hard on TRUSTe’s latest privacy innovations, I’m exploring wineries and learning from vintners about the latest innovations that are changing the face of this ancient art and science.