Contributor: Christopher Wolf

Christopher Wolf leads the global privacy practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP and has practiced privacy law since the earliest days of the discipline. Wolf also is the founder and chair of the Future of Privacy Forum. He was the editor and lead author of the first PLI treatise on privacy law and is a frequent author and speaker on privacy and data security issues. Wolf was the first privacy lawyer to testify before the Senate Judiciary Privacy Subcommittee and is a member of a group advising the OECD on the OECD privacy guidelines.

Wolf is a cum laude graduate of Bowdoin College and graduated magna cum laude Order of the Coif from the Washington & Lee University School of Law. He participated in the general course at the London School of Economics. Following law school, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. in Washington, DC. He has practiced law for 32 years. Wolf is active in charitable organizations and serves on the boards of the Anti-Defamation League, WETA Public Broadcasting, Food & Friends (a social services agency), the George Washington University Hospital and Young Concert Artists.

EU Data Protection

My Dinner with Jan

By Christopher Wolf
German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht

On Wednesday of last week, in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a proposal for a sweeping, region-wide Data Protection Regulation, ratifying the work of MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who almost two years ago began his work as rapporteur for the regulation. 

The next evening, on Thursday in Palo Alto, California, I was sitting across the dinner table from Albrecht—who...

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Big Data

How To Solve the President’s Big Data Challenge

By Christopher Wolf

In his recent remarks on the NSA and surveillance, President Barack Obama grabbed the Big Data bull by the horns. We commend the president’s decision to task the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to reach out to privacy experts, technologists and business leaders to examine the challenges inherent in Big Data. Government surveillance raises distinct civil liberties concerns...

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Opinion

Will Transparency Calm Concerns Over National Security Access?

By Christopher Wolf

Following six months of sensational stories emanating from the Snowden-leaked files from the NSA, privacy professionals are taking stock. Recently, we have heard from the president on the subject of the needed balance between privacy and security, and needed reforms. And we have seen the report of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies and the report of the...

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Internet of Things

Law of the Connected Horse? FTC Appropriately in Learning Mode on Internet of Things

By Christopher Wolf
Image from the FTC

Error in legislation is common and never more so than when the technology is galloping forward. Let us not struggle to match an imperfect legal system to an evolving world that we understand poorly. Let us instead do what is essential to permit the participants in this evolving world to make their own decisions.-Frank H. Easterbrook, “Cyberspace and the Law of the Horse,” 1996 University of...

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Opinion

Has the LIBE Committee Torpedoed the Safe Harbor?

By Christopher Wolf

The committee of the European Parliament charged with shepherding the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation—the LIBE Committee—finally has reported out an amended version of the Regulation. And despite the fact that a Commission-initiated review of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor is pending, it appears the LIBE Committee effectively has called for the end of the Safe Harbor.

That is because in Article...

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EU-U.S. Relations

The Brussels and Warsaw Privacy Peace Talks

By Christopher Wolf

Next month, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill and Danny Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, will travel to Brussels to discuss privacy with EU officials. Later in the month, Poland will host the 35th Conference of Data Protection of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, a meeting that will be attended by privacy officials and stakeholders from around the world. Both gatherings provide...

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Opinion

Is Personal Data Better Protected from Government Surveillance in Europe than the U.S.? Maybe Not

By Christopher Wolf

At the House Oversight Committee hearing on the NSA issues, Deputy Attorney General James Cole cited our work at Hogan Lovells on EU national security access to data. He was referring to our recent whitepaper, "A Sober Look at National Security Access to Data in the Cloud," which examined the process for national security collection of data in selected foreign jurisdictions.

So, is personal data...

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Opinion

French Court Takes On the Privacy and Hate Speech Dilemma

By Christopher Wolf

In my last Perspectives blog post, I discussed how, in order to curtail online hate speech, privacy sometimes needs to take a back seat, as anonymity is often used as a privacy shield by some propagating hate. While online services can—and sometimes should—require posters to use their real names to discourage hate speech, the U.S. government cannot require the use of real names to fight...

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Opinion

What I'm Hearing Out on the Rue

By Christopher Wolf

A variety of client and professional meetings in France and Belgium have me here for an extended stay. I have heard many interesting things about privacy and data protection issues. So here is what I am hearing "out on the Rue."

The outcome of the EU regulation is anyone’s guess

One senior representative of an American multinational corporation predicted that the concerns of countries like France...

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Opinion

In Curtailing Hate Speech Online, Will Privacy Sometimes Have To Take a Backseat?

By Christopher Wolf
From the cover of the ADL's Responding to Cyberhate: A Toolkit for Action

This spring has been a mournful time. We mourn for the victims and families of the Boston Marathon bombing. We also mourn for the loss of Anne Smedinghoff, a foreign service officer in Afghanistan killed by a terrorist's explosive while delivering books to Afghan children. That loss is especially painful for those of us in the privacy community who know Anne’s dad, Tom Smedinghoff, a peerless...

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opinion

Trade Law and Privacy Law Come Together

By Christopher Wolf

I think it is cool that at my law firm, Hogan Lovells, we have a former Ambassador from the EU to the U.S. and a former U.S. Trade Representative; but in my years at the firm, I never have had a chance to do any work with them.

Likewise, I work just down the hall from lawyers in our international trade group, and up to now, my interactions with them in my role as a leader of our Privacy and...

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