Baker McKenzie lands ex-U.K. data watchdog leader Denham

Office of the law firm Baker McKenzie in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Elizabeth Denham to join Baker McKenzie as a consultant
  • Information Commissioner’s Office pursued fines against Facebook, Clearview AI, under Denham

(Reuters) – Baker McKenzie on Thursday said that U.K. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will join the law firm in London after about five years heading the data protection watchdog.

Denham will be on the firm’s global data and technology team, where a Baker McKenzie representative said she’ll work as a consultant starting in January.

She was appointed to the role at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2016. Her term ended on Tuesday.

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During her tenure, the ICO fined Facebook Inc 500,000 British pounds ($665,100) for breaches of data protection law related to the harvesting of data by Cambridge Analytica.

The regulator on Monday said it intends to fine facial recognition software company Clearview AI over 17 million pounds ($22.61 million) for alleged data protection law breaches. The company can contest the allegations before a final decision is made.

“No stranger to grappling with some of the thorniest issues in the field of technology and how our data is used and accessed, Elizabeth’s appointment will bring yet greater strength and depth to this core area of focus for the firm,” Brian Hengesbaugh, chair of the firm’s global data privacy and security business unit, said in a statement.

Chicago-founded Baker McKenzie has more than 70 offices worldwide.

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($1 = 0.7511 pounds)

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Sara Merken

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

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