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LegalTech News Quotes Balch Partner Brandon N. Robinson about Personal Liability for Executives following Data Privacy Violations

Brandon N. Robinson, partner in the firm’s Birmingham Office and chair of the Data Privacy and Security Practice interviewed with Law.com’s LegalTech News about when executives could face personal liability following their company’s data privacy violations. 

The article references the new Online Safety Bill in the U.K., which pushes for criminal liability for senior managers. It also examines the FTC’s recent actions against executives from the companies Drizzly and Uber in the United States. 

“At a high level, what you’re seeing is a reflection that much like the other risks for which we hold executives accountable, such as under [the Sarbanes-Oxley Act], there is an attempt in the FTC actions and in the U.K. act to do the same. What’s important to recognize about that, though, is it’s not some sort of strict liability. There is what we call … mens rea, there’s a knowing aspect of it,” Brandon was quoted as saying. 

Brandon explained he didn’t expect enforcement action for sole negligence. 

“I think that what we’re seeing is an attempt to place some individual accountability on executives when they’re really just sticking their head in the sand or trying to cover something up, not just for being negligent” he was quoted as saying.

He stressed the importance for companies to have a clear role responsible for data security and privacy.

Brandon counsels clients in a wide variety of industries regarding cybersecurity and data privacy issues to assist them in proactively managing risks while maintaining innovative customer service in terms of data breach management and response, compliance with federal, state, and sectoral privacy laws and regulations, review and drafting of contracts with vendors and other third parties involving customer data, nondisclosure agreements, and more.

Brandon is the editor of and a frequent contributor to the firm's Data Privacy & Security Observer Blog, which provides legal updates and thought leadership on data privacy and cybersecurity issues.