Brad Smith will decide privacy policy, IP issues and more as Microsoft's new president

The former general counsel at Microsoft, Smith will also become the company's chief legal officer.

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Microsoft's privacy policies—you know, the ones that encompass the dodgy privacy-infringing tools in Windows 7 and 8—have a new overseer. On Friday, the company named Brad Smith as its new president. Smith, who is also the company’s chief legal officer, will be the face of Microsoft in legal and intellectual property issues, as well as privacy.

Smith was formerly general counsel & executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs, according to his updated bio page.

Smith will be Microsoft’s first president since 2002, according to Bloomberg. Given that his role is more of an administrative one, it’s not likely that he’ll have any direct impact on Microsoft’s product roadmap. Still, Smith will be the man who crafts Microsoft’s privacy policy.

Here’s how Microsoft describes Smith’s new role:

“In this role Smith plays a key role in representing the company externally and in leading the company’s work on a number of critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion, among others. He also leads a team of business, legal and corporate affairs professionals spanning 55 countries. These teams are responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, and the company’s government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship and social responsibility work.”

Why this matters: If you’re the type who focuses on Microsoft’s products without any care for how much of your data is being collected, than Smith’s new role might not mean much. But if you’re someone who’s concerned about privacy (and based on the user comments we’ve seen, quite a few of you are) Smith will be the one to watch. On one hand, Microsoft has fought the U.S. government is its attempts to collect user data; on the other, there’s the ongoing privacy concerns about Windows 10. In either case, Smith will be the man who handles this aspect of Microsoft’s business.

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