Future of Privacy Forum Launches Fellowship in Memory of Privacy Hero Elise Berkower


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March 26, 2018
Contact: Melanie Bates, Director of Communications, [email protected]

Future of Privacy Forum Launches Fellowship in Memory of Privacy Hero Elise Berkower

Washington, DC – Today, the Future of Privacy Forum announced the launch of a new fellowship in memory of Elise Berkower. Elise was a senior privacy executive at global measurement and data analytics company Nielsen for nearly a decade and was a valued, longtime member of the FPF Advisory Board. FPF graciously acknowledges the Berkower Family and the Nielsen Foundation as founding sponsors of the Elise Berkower Memorial Fellowship.

“Elise was passionate about mentoring and teaching recent law school graduates because in addition to spreading her vast knowledge and experience to others, Elise understood that when teaching the teacher also learns and fine tunes their understanding,” said Howard Berkower, Elise’s brother. “Our family can think of no better way to honor Elise’s personal and professional life of generosity, commitment and accomplishment than to establish this Privacy Fellowship.”

Elise served as Chief Privacy Counsel at Nielsen, playing a lead role in efforts to ensure the company was best in class in the way it handles consumer data, in addition to playing an active role in working across industry groups to help raise the bar of consumer protection across a range of organizations.

“Elise’s leadership was critical in laying the foundation for what today is Nielsen’s industry-leading privacy efforts,” said Eric J. Dale, Nielsen’s Chief Legal Officer and Secretary and Director of the Nielsen Foundation.  “We are so excited about the FPF fellowship in her honor, which allows Elise’s legacy of excellence and development in privacy to continue for years to come.  We are thrilled that the Nielsen Foundation is a founding sponsor of the Elise Berkower Memorial Fellowship.”

The Nielsen Foundation is a private foundation funded by Nielsen. The Nielsen Foundation seeks to enhance use of data by the social sector to reduce discrimination, ease global hunger, promote effective education, and build strong leadership.

While at Nielsen, Elise was heavily involved in recruiting, training and mentoring interns, creating a pathway for a generation of students to enter the privacy field. Elise provided nearly 100 students with an opportunity to gain the experience and build the relationships needed to launch their careers in this field. The Elise Berkower Memorial Fellowship is designed for recent law school graduates and will honor Elise’s legacy by identifying and nurturing young lawyers interested in contemporary privacy issues with a focus on consumer protection and business ethics.

“Elise had a passion for privacy that was infectious,” said Farah Zaman, Senior Global Data Privacy Counsel, Colgate-Palmolive Company. “She could produce a practical, insightful, and thorough legal and technical solution off the top of her head, and educate interns, junior and senior legal colleagues, and even counsel across the table while doing so.  Elise was a remarkable person to work for not only because of her brilliance, but also because of her profound example of how to simultaneously be an effective in-house counsel, privacy advocate, and infinitely kind and thoughtful person. The legal profession and privacy community will be advanced by any attorney or intern who follows her example.”

The fellowship will be a one-year, public interest position for recent law school graduates committed to the advancement of responsible data practices. Candidates will be selected based on both academic qualifications and a commitment to the personal qualities exemplified by Elise – collaboration with co-workers, peers and the broader privacy community and a commitment to ethical conduct.

“She was one of the brightest stars in our privacy community,” said Zoe Strickland, Managing Director, Global Chief Privacy Officer, JPMorgan Chase. “She had such a deep understanding of privacy in that complicated intersection of data use, technology, tracking, and aggregation. And a quick and sharp wit as a bonus. This fellowship is a testament to her skill and legacy, and provides a wonderful avenue for students to follow in her big footsteps.”

“Elise was a quiet, but powerful, force in the privacy community,” said Trevor Hughes, President & CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.  “For almost two decades, she worked for better outcomes for all involved. Her influence can be seen in many of the privacy standards that we work with today. She is terribly missed, and fondly remembered.”

“Elise was one of the quiet heroines of the earliest days of privacy compliance,” said Nuala O’Connor, President & CEO of Center for Democracy & Technology. “She was so much more than just a respected and valued colleague; she was a friend and a teacher and a partner to many. She was the best example of how to imbue privacy and data ethics into an organization.”

“Elise was one of the founding Board Members of the NAI, providing groundbreaking and effective leadership in developing standards and best practices for digital technology companies facing emerging privacy and public policy issues raised by complicated business models,” said Leigh Freund, President & CEO of the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI). “Elise’s incredible knack for diplomatic negotiation and collaboration with industry leaders at a critical point in the development of the internet economy resulted in a lasting legacy of effective and responsible self-regulation that we can all be proud of.”

“When I became Chief Privacy Officer at DoubleClick, I needed someone with a deep commitment to consumer protection to work with and educate thousands of companies and clients, teaching many of them for the first time the basics of internet privacy,” said Jules Polonetsky, FPF’s CEO. “Elise joined DoubleClick from her role as Chief Administrative Law Judge at the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and played a critical role in shaping DoubleClick’s best practices as well as setting a standard for the industry.”

The Elise Berkower Memorial Fellow will focus on consumer and commercial privacy issues, from technology-specific areas such as advertising practices, drones, wearables, connected cars, and student privacy, to general data management and privacy issues related to ethics, de-identification, algorithms, and the Internet of Things.

To apply for the inaugural Elise Berkower Memorial Fellowship or to support our efforts, please visit https://fpf.org/2018/03/26/the-elise-berkower-memorial-fellowship.



The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies.