Privacy in an On Demand World

Harriet P. Pearson
IBM Corporation

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2003
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

Corporations and organizations are struggling to handle an exponential increase in the number of on-line transactions, to protect the privacy and security of proprietary and personal data, and to deal with the growing complexity of IT systems.

In response, IBM and other IT companies are developing On Demand technologies that enable their customers to use the Internet to tap the computer power, the data storage, and the software they need to respond in real time to any customer demand, market opportunity, or competitive threat.

By combining the power of Grid computing, Web services, pervasive wireless technologies, and “autonomic” (self-monitoring, self-managing) systems, IBM is making it possible to use the Internet as a platform not just for communication, but also for collaboration and computation.

As a result, rather than relying upon their own information systems, organizations will rely upon a grid of servers, storage systems, and other IT resources, in much the same way they get electricity from the electric grid today.


Harriet Pearson was named IBM’s Human Resources Vice President for Workforce Effectiveness in May 2002. She retains the responsibilities of the Chief Privacy Officer, to which she was appointed in November 2000.

In this expanded role, Pearson leads a team of HR professionals who are responsible for creating the HR strategy and the metrics that will ensure the company has the top talent it needs to compete and that employees have a work climate that facilitates their effectiveness, productivity, and well being.

As Chief Privacy Officer, she is responsible for guiding information collection and use policies and practices across the company, and spearheads a company-wide privacy management team within IBM.

Pearson unifies, on a global basis, the many privacy projects and programs underway across IBM, including research and development, marketing/sales, IBM’s Web strategy, and our technology and policy efforts.

She serves on the Boards of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and TRUSTe and is a member of the Conference Board’s Council of Chief Privacy Officers.

In June 2001 Pearson was awarded Working Woman’s first-ever W.E.S.T. (Women Elevating Science & Technology) Award and was profiled as a “Best Thinker” in the April 2001 edition of Fast Company magazine.

Pearson practiced law in Washington, D.C. before joining IBM in 1993, and before attending law school worked as an engineer for a major oil company in Louisiana and Texas. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a law degree from UCLA with highest honors and an honors engineering degree from Princeton University.