Google’s lead lawyer moves into a global policy role

Google is promoting its top lawyer, Kent Walker, into a global policy position, CNBC reports. Walker, Google SVP and general counsel, has already been a public voice in the company’s recent privacy tangles, but will move into a formal role as senior vice president of global affairs, overseeing Google’s policy, trust and safety, corporate philanthropy and legal teams.

Last year, Walker joined Richard Salgado, Google’s Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security, to head to Capitol Hill for the first round of reckoning on big tech’s failure to mitigate political disinformation campaigns during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Since then, Walker has commented publicly on Google’s policies around political ad transparency and extremist content on YouTube, among other policy issues facing the company. With social platforms at an ethical crossroads globally and tech chafing at its newly forced compliance with international privacy laws, any public-facing global policy role will be very much in the spotlight in 2018 and beyond.

Google hired Walker away from eBay in 2006, where he served as the company’s deputy general counsel. Prior to his time at eBay (and AOL, prior to that), Walker was an assistant U.S. attorney with the Department of Justice.