Facebook hires ex-Bush heavyweight, following privacy row

Judge gavel on a law book

Facebook has called on the services of a legal eagle who worked as part of former US president George Bush's advisory team.

Tim Muris, who now works for law firm O'Melveny & Myers, is assisting the social networking giant as it faces a continued uphill struggle with those opposing recent tweaks to its privacy settings, according to a report in the Financial Times. That opposition, namely a letter sent earlier this month to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by the Electronic Privacy Information Centre (EPIC) and 14 other organisations, has now led to an investigation.

"The complaint states that changes to user profile information and the disclosure of user data to third parties without consent 'violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook's own representations.' The complaint also cites widespread opposition from Facebook users, Senators, bloggers, and news organisations," claimed a statement posted on the EPIC website.

It continued: "In a letter to Congress, EPIC urged the Senate and House Committees with jurisdiction over the FTC to monitor closely the Commission's investigation. The letter noted the FTC's failure to act on several pending consumer privacy complaints."

What makes Facebook's choice of representation more interesting is the fact that Muris is chairman of O'Melveny & Myers' antitrust and competition practice. From 2001 to 2004 he served as chairman of the FTC and, during 2005, he was part of the federal tax reform advisory panel for the Bush administration.

O'Melveny & Myers has a solid history of litigation work. Earlier this year, it was shortlisted for the accolade of 'Litigation Department of the Year' by The American Lawyer magazine.

"We are honored that our litigation department has been recognised again as part of this prestigious competition," said Arthur Culvahouse, chair of O'Melveny & Myers, in a statement.

"We are tremendously proud of the work of our talented lawyers and especially grateful to our clients, who have provided us with the opportunity to serve them in diverse and challenging ways."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.