Into the breach

August 31, 2018
  • A pair of hands manipulates a cell phone with a padlock on the screen.

In the wake of news about massive data breaches and sweeping regulatory changes like the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), the niche of data privacy law has flipped from veiled to highly valued.

The University of Minnesota Law School was an early entrant into this fast-growing field, expanding its traditional course offerings to include “Data Privacy Law,” “Cyber-security,” and “Regulating Personal Health Information.” Three years ago, the school added an innovative Data Compliance Practicum to help students learn about privacy careers and gain a competitive advantage in this emerging field.

For example, it prepares students for future corporate clients seeking to draft privacy policies in compliance with laws governing personal data gathered from social media, or data on credit card usage gathered from retail sales.    

Professor William McGeveran, an early adopter in the data privacy area, directs the practicum. He is a frequent media commentator on contemporary issues like social media privacy policy and liability for hacks.

With businesses scrambling to get into and stay in compliance with the GDPR, McGeveran is convinced that the privacy profession is about to go through yet another explosive growth spurt—and that this time, Law School students can be the beneficiaries.

“In the practicum you have guest speakers, a shadowing experience, and the Certified Information Privacy Professional exam,” McGeveran says. “It’s a way of learning about this profession, how it works, and what you might do to launch yourself in it.”