In our latest reader-submitted Q&A, Paul Lanois talks about the ever-evolving nature of privacy

What is your full job title? 

My full job title is Director, Technology, Outsourcing and Privacy, at Fieldfisher (a European law firm) in their Silicon Valley (USA) office.

Which industry do you work in?

My practice covers information governance, data protection, privacy, cybersecurity and digitalization. All of these topics are connected – information governance and digitalization require data protection, and you cannot have data protection and privacy without cybersecurity – and this is why my work covers each of these areas.

How long have you worked in the industry?

I have over 12 years of work experience advising organizations on tech transactions and a wide range of domestic and international privacy compliance matters as well as cybersecurity matters.

How long have you worked in your current role? 

I joined Fieldfisher as a Director since 2018. Before joining Fieldfisher, I was Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel at a large international bank, having worked at the bank’s office in Hong Kong as well as the bank’s headquarters in Zurich (Switzerland).

How did you get into your current role? 

I joined Fieldfisher’s Silicon Valley office as I was in the process of relocating to California in the United States.

What does a typical day look like? 

Privacy is an area which is constantly evolving, so I really don’t think there is a typical day in privacy! For example, this year, a lot of organizations have experienced numerous challenges related to the pandemic (such as security issues and challenges due to remote working, cybersecurity incidents, temperature monitoring, contact tracing, etc.), as well as recent legal developments (such as the Schrems II decision from the European Court of Justice, the entry into force of the CCPA, etc.). In addition to helping clients with these challenges, there is a lot of advisory work to help organizations navigate global privacy requirements.

What is your greatest achievement so far?

 I have had the privilege to work on a wide range of different projects and initiatives, including privacy and cybersecurity issues related to autonomous vehicles, new AI-enabled devices and applications, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects, blockchain initiatives, digital banking solutions and contact tracing apps. Last month, I was named in Security Magazine’s Most Influential People in Security 2020 list (—paul-lanois) which is my latest achievement.

What is the most challenging thing about your role? 

I think the most challenging thing about the role is that it is always evolving – you always have to keep up not only with the recent legal developments but also technical evolutions in order to properly advise clients. It is a role where you cannot settle with what you already know, and have to constantly learn. For example, deployment of innovative technologies raise new privacy challenges which may not have been previously considered.

What part of your role do you enjoy the most? 

As strange as it may seem, what I mentioned earlier about the most challenging thing about the role is also what makes it so exciting! I enjoy discovering and playing with new technologies, so the possibility to help shape innovative new solutions and working directly with the product and development teams is what makes the role particularly enjoyable for me!

How do you see your role/industry changing in the next few years? 

During the next five years, cybercrime is likely to become an even greater risk for organizations and individuals alike. Hackers will keep increasing the complexity of their attacks as technology evolves. I further expect the importance of privacy and cybersecurity to become even greater in the next few years, while new laws and regulations and the emergence of new technologies raise new privacy challenges for organizations.

Would you recommend working in this role?

Please give your reasons. I would definitely recommend working in this space! No matter how you look at things, the future is increasingly digital. There is definitely a need for privacy and cybersecurity professionals to help shape the development of innovative new technologies and solutions. As the world is increasingly data-driven, this means that privacy, data protection and cybersecurity are likely to become even more crucial for organizations, be it small and up-and-coming startups, or large multinational enterprises with billions of dollars in revenue. In short, there’s no better time than now to become a privacy or cybersecurity professional.

PrivSec Report Job Focus

Do you work in privacy, security or data protection? Don’t miss the chance to feature in one of PrivSec Report’s regular job focus Q&As.

We are looking for people who work in privacy, security and data protection roles and those who work in related legal and regulatory fields across a range of industries to tell us about their everyday job.

Just fill in our  short Q&A (see questions below) and submit a photograph to be considered for inclusion. We want to feature people of all levels of seniority.

If you want to take part, email Carl Brown at