IBM has named Harriet Pearson as its first chief privacy officer, a position created to develop and support privacy standards within the company.
Chief privacy officer is a new position at IBM, but several other companies have already added someone to their payroll to ensure they are being smart about protecting customers' personal information. Last March, after facing privacy-invasion class-action lawsuits and an inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission, DoubleClick formed a privacy board and appointed Jules Polonetsky, an ex-commissioner to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, as its chief privacy officer. Internet media company [email protected] also added a chief privacy officer to its staff.
Pearson says more executives will add the title to their resumes as companies begin to address privacy issues. "Privacy executives are part of a trend that's a long time coming," Pearson says. "Other companies have moved in this direction -- IBM is just one of the largest."