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Rod Rosenstein: ‘Data Privacy Creates Tremendous Challenges’ for Businesses & Lawyers

Created on February 4, 2020


Content Manager at Exterro

As part of the opening keynote presentation for LegalWeek’s yearly conference, former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sat down for a “fireside chat” to talk a little bit about the biggest threat to U.S. democracy, political and media chaos, and his return to the legal industry as a private citizen for the first time in his career.

While that last part may be a little at-odds with the rather dramatic and fear-based questions regarding democracy and politics writ large, Rosenstein did touch on loose data practices that can lead to compromised outcomes—in political, personal, and business matters—saying that “data privacy creates tremendous challenges” for businesses and lawyers.

“People are always worried about the government collecting too much data,” said Rosenstein. “I was never as worried about that. I’m more worried about where [my] data may be ‘out there.’”

While the focus of the conference is on technology that can help lawyers and corporations more efficiently maintain compliance with the law, Rosenstein referred to “cyber influences” that he feels will linger until there is a wide-spread adoption of privacy solutions to this growing problem. He related this back to an earlier question regarding Russian interference and the Department of Justice investigation that followed.

“We need to continue to improve the ability of our technology to achieve our goals and protect against intrusions,” Rosenstein said. “We started with a discussion of Russian interference . . . what we saw there was the impact that a concerted effort can have on, number one, the integrity of the system, and number two, the confidence in it. So I think from an institutional perspective we really need to focus on hardening our defenses so that we’re protected against interference—whether that’s Russia, other countries, or domestic actors with the intent of undermining the integrity of the system.”

Beyond data privacy and the need for a collective defense to combat this problem, Rosenstein also said that—as a new attorney for King & Spalding—one of his (and the industry’s) biggest technology challenges has to do with reviewing documents.

“The biggest challenge we face as lawyers, regarding technology, is just sorting through what’s relevant,” said Rosenstein.