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Our latest series will introduce you to a new TRUSTe employee every week to give you an inside look at the talented, knowledgeable and friendly people who work at TRUSTe. 

Meet TRUSTE Matthew

Name: Matthew Coleman

Job title: Privacy Solutions Manager, JD, CIPP/US

How long have you worked at TRUSTe?: Since May 2014

Describe your current role, how this has changed over time, and walk us through a typical day: My current role is as a privacy subject matter expert responsible for working with clients on completing their TRUSTe certifications. My clients operate across a wide variety of industries and are of various size and scale.

My role is evolving as companies’ privacy practices are evolving. Formerly, companies would only focus on the privacy implication of major products or their web presence, such as domains, cloud platforms and mobile applications. Since data privacy has become part of the conversation at the executive level, companies are increasingly interested in developing the best privacy practice for every facet of their business. My role now increasingly involves reviewing an entire corporation’s privacy practices.

A typical day for me could consist of a range of projects. I generally make a point to review any news and current events affecting consumer privacy first thing. Otherwise, I could be conducting an investigation of a client’s privacy practices — both the observable and what’s happening behind the scenes. I may also be following up with clients on questions about industry standards, nuanced policy issues, or the status of ongoing projects.

What do you like most about working here?: Two things immediately come to mind. First, the clients are phenomenal. We get the privilege of working with companies of every size and industry. My job entails partnering with legal teams, IT/security teams, marketing teams, and engineers to implement privacy programs within a company. I get to see the broadest possible spectrum from privacy-by-design to privacy as an afterthought. It’s exciting every time I’m tapped for a new engagement.

Second, it’s a great environment to work in. The entire company is collaborative and dedicated to producing results. So even though I own my own projects there are a number of people ready and willing to go the extra mile if I need support or have questions. The environment at TRUSTe is conducive to creating new initiatives for the company. In my short tenure here I’ve been able to create a legal internship program and get internal support for developing a MeetUp group for all privacy professionals called The Privacy Innovation & Technology MeetUp group.

Why do you think online privacy is an important issue?: Now more than ever, personal information is being utilized by companies to develop new products, services, and the means of marketing the same to individuals. The usage of personal information has increased year over year and has shown no signs of slowing down. The ability of businesses to use this information is critical to developing products and services that are best tailored to the needs of consumers. Likewise, the ability of consumers to rest assured that their information is not being misappropriated for distasteful purposes is critical to keeping the data economy running. Alienating consumers by misusing their data is a great way to find your company abandoned and obsolete.

What are some hot issues in the privacy space right now?: A few off the top of my head:

  • The EU Data Protection Regulation slated to come out in 2015
  • The impact of the Internet of Things and wearable technology on consumer privacy
  • Student privacy in the Education Technology space
  • The aftermath of government surveillance revelations
  • The proliferation of cross-border data transfer frameworks

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?: I’ve always been a fan of film and going out to catch a movie. I enjoy being outdoors and watching or playing a great baseball game. Otherwise, the most fun I have is just generally spending time with friends and my dog, Evey.

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