updated 11:06 pm EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Data protection specialist, former Senate staffer picked for top jobs
A former Senate staffer will take on the role of Apple's new top US government lobbyist in Washington DC, while a certified privacy professional with a background in healthcare, national security and social network privacy issues has been named to a new "privacy counsel" position within the company. Amber Cottle served as a staff director for an influential congressional committee, while Sabrina Ross as already begun her job overseeing the protection of customer data.
Cottle worked as staff director for the Senate Finance Committee under Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) for five years, and before that was the committee's chief international trade counsel. She replaces former Apple lobbyist Catherine Novelli, who left in September of last year to join the State Department.
While Apple remains the lowest-key and lowest-spending of the big tech giants in terms of political lobbying, it actually increased its lobbying budget by 60 percent last year, to $3.3 million. This is still, however, far less than its rivals -- Google, for example, spent $16.5 million on lobbying in 2013.
Apple's new "privacy counsel" is Sabrina Ross, who has been working for the company in the job since earlier this month. Her background is in "information law matters involving privacy and data protection, online brand protection, electronic surveillance, defamation, information security, cloud computing, social media, locational privacy, e-commerce, and national security." She says in her LinkedIn profile that she is "passionate" about those issues, and that her previous practice included "developing privacy compliance systems, creating privacy/data security training and policies, conducting risk analysis in the merger/acquisition context, and providing compliance counselling regarding the state/federal/international privacy law landscape."