McKenna working at Seattle law firm

SEATTLE -- A month after leaving office, former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has found a new professional home in a Seattle law firm.

McKenna told the Herald he started work at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's public policy group on Friday, working with such clients as Microsoft on issues relating to technology and data privacy.

"Data privacy is a big issue for all technology companies right now," McKenna said.

He joined the firm as a partner and co-chairman of the public policy group after serving eight years as attorney general and running unsuccessfully for governor in 2012.

McKenna foresees a coming tug-of-war between hardware and software producers like Microsoft, who will be building more privacy controls into their products, and companies like Google or social media sites that provide online services and encourage more and more openness of information among users, he said.

"Companies like Google are telling us privacy doesn't really matter anymore and we should all get over it," he said. "They make money off of website visits and Gmail by selling ads."

In contrast, Microsoft has incorporated tracking protection into its Internet Explorer web browser that stops companies from following a user's movements on the web to target advertising at them, he said.

"This is a very interesting issue because there's so much data out there on all of us. It's phenomenal how much data is being created every day and how easy it is for companies to track it and examine it," he said.

This isn't his first foray into online privacy. As attorney general, he worked with the Legislature to pass one of the nation's first anti-spyware laws and measures to curb identity theft.

He also built a computer forensics lab to collect evidence of internet fraud.

"It just naturally follows that I can work in this (field) as a private attorney," he said.