Who: Michael Lamb
Company: AT&T Corp.
Has Held Title For: One year
Previous Title: Chief counsel for AT&T's Internet services
It's no secret that consumer privacy is a weighty concern — especially for a company with 90 million customers. That's why AT&T named Michael Lamb its first chief privacy officer. Lamb wants to make privacy a priority that's out in the open.
Do you subscribe to the philosophy "Out of sight, out of mind"?
With a title like "privacy officer," there are no historically defined responsibilities or job descriptions. So I have to be very active in meeting with people across the company as we develop our privacy practices and policies.
Can you divulge your mission?
We want to develop privacy practices for all our services — particularly our new wireless and cable services. Customers are very sensitive to these areas. They don't want Big Brother looking over their shoulder.
What's going to happen to privacy in the future?
Customers will become more and more informed about privacy issues, but I don't think privacy will go away. It may be that customers will someday knowingly give up some privacy rights to get a better price on service. Eventually, companies may have to compete based on how we treat sensitive data.
A version of this article appeared in the July 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.