Ryan Trainer
DIRECT TEL 202-434-0828
DIRECT FAX 202-434-0823

January 5, 2000

Mr. Donald S. Clark
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room H-159
Washington, DC 20580

Re: Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security - Nomination,  P004807

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Pursuant to the December 21, 1999 Federal Register notice requesting nominations for an Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security, 64 Fed. Reg. 71,475, I hereby request that I be considered for appointment to this committee.

By way of background, I am a partner in the Washington office of Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, a global law firm that represents numerous U.S. and foreign financial institutions, telecommunication and internet service providers, e-commerce enterprises, manufacturers, media organizations, trade associations, and non-profit entities that are significantly involved in the on-line collection, dissemination, and use of confidential data. Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, a U.S. partnership, has offices and clients operating in all major financial centers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Our law firm and our clients are at the forefront of many online privacy issues. For example, we represent several leaders in the online securities brokerage and banking sectors. Privacy policy is obviously of particular interest to financial institutions as more services are provided online both domestically and globally, and as mergers among banks, securities firms, and insurers that are now permitted by the recently-enacted Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999 ("FMA") begin to occur.

We are also assisting U.S. financial institutions to modify their existing privacy policies to comply with the rules that the Federal Trade Commission and other regulators will promulgate soon under the FMA’s new consumer privacy requirements. Institutions engaged in trans-Atlantic data transfers must also decide whether to qualify under the "International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles" that the United States has proposed to harmonize U.S. and European data protection mechanisms, once the two parties agree on the final terms of the Safe Harbor.

In addition, our firm provides extensive First Amendment and related advice to several media organizations that increasingly use online data sources in their news coverage. Attorneys in our intellectual property practice also have expertise with certain technical aspects of online privacy issues, data encryption, and e-commerce generally.

I am confident that I can constructively contribute to the Advisory Committee based on my own experience in this field, as well as the expertise of my European partners and the firm’s clients that have dealt with similar online privacy issues in the United States and Europe. Among other things, I have counseled clients regarding their obligations under various federal financial privacy statutes, and the implications for their businesses of the European Commission’s ("EC") so-called "Privacy Directive" and the U.S. Safe Harbor Principles.

Furthermore, any discussion of privacy policy that could affect the flow of data across international borders could involve U.S. rights and obligations under international agreements, such as the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services ("GATS"), if such a policy were to impose disproportionate burdens on a foreign company’s access to or use of U.S.-based online data. Relevant to these issues, I have provided advice concerning the possible distortive effect of the EC’s Privacy Directive on trade in financial and other services protected by the GATS. The same considerations would apply to U.S. privacy policies. I have also assisted clients in developing website privacy policies, exporting sensitive data, structuring commercial databases to comply with various federal regulatory requirements, and negotiating computer software development and acquisition agreements and internet service contracts.

Finally, as I am based in our Washington office, I would be easily available for all meetings of the Advisory Committee.

For the foregoing reasons, I respectfully request that I be considered for appointment to the Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security. I believe that my experience in advising clients that actively collect and use personal data online, and my access to a broad range of collective knowledge on privacy policies in other countries and insights in related subjects including intellectual property and First Amendment issues, would further the Committee’s objectives by providing a balance of perspectives.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at (202) 434-0828 should you require any further information in this regard.


Ryan Trainer