Privacy Ref Blog

Tom Brady, Joe Namath, and Privacy

Like many Americans I grew up idolizing football players, quarterbacks in particular. Joe Namath and Tom Brady are among those I have enjoyed watching play. Who would of thought that these two men who played in different eras would provide examples for a privacy discussion for business.

Tom Brady and privacy

While I have tired of hearing about Deflategate and Tom Brady’s mobile phone, Brady’s practices when upgrading his phone provide a business privacy lesson. According to an article in the Boston Globe, during his appeal hearing with Roger Goodell, Brady explained what he does when he changes mobile phones.

I think whenever I’m done with the phone, I don’t want anybody ever to see the content of the phone, photos. Obviously there is a log with the smart phones of all bradymy e-mail communications. So in those folders, there is player contracts. There’s, you know, endorsement deals. There’s—along with photos of my family and so forth that I just don’t want anyone to ever come in contact with those.

A lot of people’s private information that had that phone—if it shows up somewhere, then, you know, all the contacts in my phone, you know, wouldn’t want that to happen. So I have always told the guy who swaps them out for me, make sure you get rid of the phone.

And what I mean is destroy the phone so that no one can ever, you know, reset it or do something where I feel like the information is available to anybody.

From a business perspective, think about all of the mobile devices that your employees carry. Whether you supply those devices or you have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy, there is a good chance that there is confidential information or personal information with which your business has been entrusted present on the device.

When an employee changes devices, or when they leave your organization, how do you ensure that your organization’s private information remains protected?

Joe Namath and privacy

Recently two teenage boys were lost at sea while undertaking a fishing trip from Florida to the Bahamas. It turns out that Joe Namath lives in the same community as these boys. He knew the boys and their families.

namath Many retired celebrities seem to live a secluded life. Unless you are really trying to find where that celebrity lives, it would not be easily known. Namath, however, has been active in his community so it would not be unexpected that he would offer a reward to help find these teens.

By offering the reward Namath revealed where he lives via the national media. He gave up some of his personal information in return for doing “the right thing” to help find the teens.

From a business perspective, for a privacy professional,  it raises the question about when would you be doing “the right thing” in revealing personal information that your organization has been entrusted with? “Never” might be the answer some organizations while raising this question in others may solicit an interesting discussion.


Privacy Ref provides consulting and assessment services to build and improve organizational privacy programs. For more information call Privacy Ref at (888) 470-1528 or email us at

Posted on August 12, 2015 by Bob Siegel
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