Privacy Ref Blog

How I Got Into Privacy

One of the questions I receive, mostly from my wife’s family and students considering their future careers, is how I got into privacy. It’s an interesting topic for me. I am a huge nerd, this is no secret, and my passion for games has played a huge part in my growth as a privacy pro.

Rules Rule

A great question from a student I met in Georgia during a conference was “how do you remember all these laws?” I also happened to have a copy of a rule book for a tabletop game, think Dungeons and Dragons, that I have started playing. This book is a solid 560+ pages of rules and jargon that most players will not use during each time they play the game. I showed the student this book and then showed them the IAPP’s CIPP/E book which weighs in at just under 360 pages (including lots of footnotes).

Not just in this game, but in many games, there are rules that are hard to remember all the time, but I personally have a bit of a guilty pleasure in acting as a rules lawyer. Nothing is better than pulling out that obscure, once in a while rule that wins you the game or costs your brother the win.

Learning how and when to apply rules has been essential to understanding all the laws and regulations we help our clients apply to their businesses.

I like to Talk

I know this may come as a shock to some, but I like talking about anything. I have found a valuable skill, that I will now share with all of you, that can be used to talk to anyone about anything. Listening. That is all you have to do. Asking questions, prompting others to go into detail about the subject matter, and the occasional head nod or “right” is all you need to have a good conversation. This has been immeasurably useful during assessments or consulting work. Asking good questions, and knowing how to steer a conversation towards the information you need in good time is a great way to assist in your mission as a privacy pro.

All in all, there is probably more to my privacy career so far. However, these two things, being a rules lawyer and enjoying conversing with others, have been essential to working in privacy.

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 December 19, 2018 by Ben Siegel

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