Albert Gidari is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP where he represents a broad range of companies on privacy, security, Internet, electronic surveillance and communications law. His practice also includes both civil and criminal litigation, investigations and regulatory compliance counseling.
Mr. Gidari is a nationally recognized privacy lawyer. In 2011, he negotiated the first-ever "privacy by design" consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Google Inc., in regard to the company's Buzz social networking service. The Consent Decree was the first FTC Privacy and EU Safe Harbor settlement and the first to include a comprehensive privacy program to implement the Decree. He also successfully settled claims relating to Google Buzz in a multi-district class action filed in federal court.
From 2010 to present, Mr. Gidari also has successfully represented Google in regard to its WiFi collection activities via Streetview, defending the company before the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, a multi-state Attorney General inquiry, and globally in response to inquiries from Data Protection Authorities and other agencies.
His earlier successes include successfully defending Google in response to the 2009 FTC Cloud Computing inquiry in 2008 and in 2006 against a Department of Justice subpoena seeking billions of customer search queries and Web pages from Google search in Gonzales v. Google, 234 F.R.D. 674 (N.D. CA 2006). See Post Hearing CNN Interview here.
Within the communications industry, Mr. Gidari is a recognized authority on the use, disclosure and access to Customer Proprietary Network Information or “CPNI” Mr. Gidari has represented numerous wireless carriers and CTIA-the Wireless Association before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and state agencies in responding to proposed new rules to combat “pretexting” or the unlawful access to CPNI by data brokers. On behalf of numerous carriers, Mr. Gidari and his litigation team successfully sued and enjoined number data brokers to prevent unlawful pretexting of customer information. Mr. Gidari represents Sprint Nextel in defending multi-district class action claims against the company and its handset manufacturers and software maker Carrier IQ regarding the use of network monitoring tools on the handset.
Location-based services in the wireless industry present significant privacy challenges and Mr. Gidari likewise is an authority and industry thought leader on these issues. He first wrote about location capability in two articles in Cellular Business magazine in 1995, and has since been a frequent speaker on the subject at international conferences. He drafted CTIA’s petition to the Federal Communications Commission in 2001 to establish technology-neutral Fair Location Information Practices. Likewise, he was the rapporteur for International GSM Association’s working group on the development of international location privacy principles in Rome in 2002.
He continues to represent wireless carriers in the implementation of a new generation of location-based services for asset tracking, public safety, telematics and law enforcement needs. To address the significant privacy issues that may arise with location-based services, CTIA – the Wireless Association asked Mr. Gidari to develop an industry-wide set of best practices and guidelines for location-based service providers. CTIA's Best Practices and Guidelines for Location Based Services were adopted in Spring 2008, and substantially amended and updated to reflect current location business practices. The Guidelines serve as the benchmark for addressing user privacy in location products and services. In June 2009, Mr. Gidari spoke at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society addressing the topic of location privacy in a mobile world in a speech entitled “They Know Where You Are: Location Privacy in a Mobile World." Today, Mr. Gidari represents a broad range of location application providers, mobile device operating system developers and others in responding to privacy concerns regarding location tracking and monitoring.
In the area of law enforcement, Mr. Gidari has represented communications companies for over 15 years in the implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). He was the key legal advisor to the wireless industry for the development of JSTD-025, the first technical standard for electronic surveillance in the United States, under the auspices of the Telecommunications Industry Association. For his work in that regard, he received CTIA's "President's Award" for excellence in 1998. Mr. Gidari successfully represented the American Library Association and the Association of American Research Libraries before the Federal Communications Commission to obtain an exemption from CALEA. Likewise, Mr. Gidari successfully represented a coalition of advanced research and education networks such as the Pacific Northwest Gigapop, National LambdaRail and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) before the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in challenging the extension of CALEA to private networks.
A recognized authority on the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Mr. Gidari is a frequent commentator on electronic surveillance issues. He testified before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on May 5, 2010, regarding ECPA reform and digital due process. In 2011, he spoke at Brookings regarding reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
In addition to the implementation of CALEA, Mr. Gidari assists communications service providers in developing security office procedures to comply with lawfully authorized electronic surveillance orders. He assists companies in reviewing and responding to legal process under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Wiretap Act.
Mr. Gidari’s work encompasses international and cross-border requests for information through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and international conventions. In 2005, Mr. Gidari served as an expert witness on the scope of USA PATRIOT Act for the Government of British Columbia in British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union v. Minister of Health Services and Medical Services Commission (V040879) (Supreme Court of British Columbia), and he has filed expert declarations in proceedings in Brazil and France.
As with privacy, Mr. Gidari is a noted authority on the development and implementation of security best practices to meet the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley as well as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standard for electronic financial services. Mr. Gidari has handled dozens of security breach investigations and notices to customers under state security breach notification laws. He maintains the popular state security breach notification laws chart at Perkins Coie’s website.
Internet and E-Commerce
In 1995, Mr. Gidari co-founded the Internet Law and Policy Forum, a global consortium of Internet-centric companies addressing policy and legal issues raised by the global nature of Internet communications and commerce. He served as its first Executive Director from 1995 - 1998. In that capacity, he addressed the OECD Ministers Meeting in Ottawa, Canada, and presented a milestone paper titled Observations on the State of Self-Regulation of the Internet.
Mr. Gidari co-authored the path-breaking Survey of State Electronic & Digital Signature Legislative Initiatives in 1997, which became the foundation for the development of international principles for electronic authentication. He has remained an active participant in the firm’s electronic financial services practice for over a decade, advising clients in development of payment processes, compliance with money transmitter and escheat statutes and in new and emerging financial services models. His advice is augmented by his private sector experience as the CEO of a proposed all-Internet bank in 1999, the founder of a financial services company in 2000, and as an advisor to emerging companies in the payments area.
Regulatory issues abound in Internet law and present compliance challenges. Mr. Gidari has worked closely with clients in the development of online marketing initiatives. He was a participant in the Federal Trade Commission’s May 2003 Spam Forum, and he was instrumental in advising CTIA and other clients on the passage of the CAN-SPAM Act. Section 14 of the CAN-SPAM Act addresses requirements for mobile service commercial messages (MSCM’s) and Mr. Gidari advises both wireless carriers and applications providers regarding compliance with the law.
He works closely today in setting key word advertising and search engine policies and practices, as publishers, advertisers, search providers and social networking sites face potential liability for carrying advertisements for products or services deemed to be unlawful. Mr. Gidari counsels clients regarding compliance with online gambling laws, and he represented Google in defense of class action claims in 2005 that such advertisements violated California law in Cisneros v. Google, et al. Mr. Gidari also represented Google and numerous companies in responding to grand jury inquiries about such ads as well as online companies and individuals regarding investment decisions in online gambling businesses and jurisdictional issues.
Mr. Gidari has represented the pioneers of the Internet including such companies as Amazon.com, Google and Microsoft. He represented Connexion by Boeing, the first airborne commercial ISP; Amazon.com in the roll out of its auction services; and wireless service providers in the development of the wireless Web.
- Listed in Chambers USA, "America's Leading Lawyers"
- Listed in Washington Law & Politics, "Washington's Super Lawyers," 2004 - Present
- Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association Person of the Year Award, 1998
- Center for Law, Science & Innovation Advisory Board
- President and CEO of proposed all-Internet bank, CEO of electronic financial services company, 1999 - 2000
- Co-Founder of the Internet Law and Policy Forum, a global consortium of Internet-centric companies addressing policy and legal issues raised by the global nature of Internet communications and commerce, 1995 - 1998
- Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Washington, 1996 - 1999
U.S. Marine Corps, Judge Advocate, 1985 - 1988
U.S. Marine Corps, 1978 - 1988
- University of Washington School of Law, LL.M., 1994
- George Mason University School of Law, J.D., with distinction (top 1%), 1985
- Tulane University, B.A., History, 1978
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit