Britanie Hall
  • Google
United States of America
Britanie Hall

Britanie Hall

  • Google
United States of America

What do you do?

Product counsels are like mini-general counsels for the teams and product areas they support. I spend my days collaborating closely with the Google Speech and Assistant teams to proactively assess legal risks and compliance obligations as we develop innovative technologies and products that make billions of people’s lives easier or more delightful. This can be especially tricky at the crossroads of new technologies and laws that are still developing, especially in the area of data protection. To navigate this, I try to deeply understand how our technologies work, the motivations behind the laws and regulatory enforcement, and ultimately, whether our choices are well reasoned and build user trust.

Why data?

Most of my legal career has been as a privacy specialist, and that was driven by my fascination with how new technologies are changing how we live and interact with the world and each other. While data protection is at its core, privacy lawyers often have been the first stop for broader consumer protection and internet-related questions in the digital age.

What’s keeping you busy?

I have been getting up to speed on the European Data Protection Board’s draft guidelines on virtual voice assistants and the European Commission’s draft Regulation on Artificial Intelligence.

What mentors or other influential figures have helped you get where you are today?

I am fortunate to have been mentored by vanguard of privacy law Harriet Pearson, who I worked closely with on Hogan Lovells’ privacy and cybersecurity team. She shaped how I think about the law and using my voice as a woman lawyer in tech.

If you could change one data-related law, how and why would you change it?

I would love to see the US pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation to support responsible data use while still providing organisations with flexibility to build beneficial and innovative services.

How has covid-19 affected what you do?

I changed jobs just after the pandemic started, and it has been a challenge to onboard into a new role when everything is a video conference – back to back Google Meet all day, every day.

What’s the next big thing – what data opportunities are companies now looking at?

Voice and speech recognition technologies are really key to helping people navigate an increasingly fast-paced world. A lot of my time is spent advising on how we can responsibly develop those technologies so that they work for users around the globe and in all languages.

What’s keeping companies worried at the moment – what are some key data risks?

A challenge for tech companies right now is how to explain complex technologies and data practices and meet legal notice requirements when privacy policies and terms of use are not users’ first choice in reading material. Finding creative ways to provide transparency and control directly in products without over burdening users is key.

What do you do to relax?

To relax, I take long walks with my dog Hashtag while listening to podcasts.

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