A blog post by Jurgen Van Staden, the NAI's newest team member and Counsel and Assistant Director of Policy.
With the NAI, I’ve found a perfect career match and I’m thrilled to now be a part of the NAI’s team of privacy and technology attorneys. During law school, my roommate, a computer science grad student researching systems that gather and analyze real-time data, first sparked my interest in what’s behind the ads we see when we’re online. Intrigued by the power of bytes, I soon found myself wondering how the legal cases I was reading applied to the digital world and decided to continue my studies in both law and technology. This led to the receipt of a Masters in Computer Science and an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law while working as an information security consultant and attorney. Later, as a clerk to the Chief Privacy Officer of the Federal Trade Commission, I saw how my background in law and technology could be applied to the field of digital privacy and I was hooked.
With this background, I jumped at the opportunity to join NAI because I strongly believe in its mission to promote responsible business and data management practices by its members, who are participants in the third-party online advertising industry. I was also excited to work on novel issues of law and policy in the rapidly changing world of online advertising. However, it was the chance to help NAI’s self-regulatory structure further adapt to new business models and platforms that I found most appealing.
Prior to starting as Counsel and Assistant Director of Policy, I had the opportunity to meet members and listen to presentations at our Second Annual Member Summit. When FTC Commissioner Julie Brill commended NAI for being an exemplary self-regulatory organization, especially one that exists in this challenging and fast-moving space, a surge of excitement and pride confirmed that joining NAI was the best decision. Overall, the Summit was eye-opening and generated deep respect for the professionals in ad tech that work very hard to ensure the responsible collection and use of data. I couldn’t help but conclude that few organizations are positioned as well as NAI to effectively address the challenging technical and legal issues related to consumers’ online privacy and our members’ businesses. I am excited to be a part of an excellent team that works tirelessly to address the issues, to work with our membership and provide them clear guidance, to keep them accountable to the high standards set by the NAI Code and, ultimately, to expand the important work of the NAI.