LaFrance, Ann J.

Ann J. LaFrance

Partner

Ann LaFrance coordinates our EMEA Communications Law Practice and co-chairs our global Data Privacy & Cybersecurity group. Drawing on more than 30 years of industry experience, Ann advises clients on telecommunications regulation and new media policy, competition law, dispute resolution and European Union (EU) data protection and e-privacy matters.

Ann has considerable experience advising on the evolving EU regulatory framework for electronic communications including interconnection, Next Generation Access, SMP/market reviews, Net Neutrality/Network Management, margin squeeze tests, price regulation of mixed bundles, net neutrality, spectrum refarming and award processes (including auctions), international roaming arrangements, data protection, e-privacy and data retention. She also has experience negotiating commercial arrangements between operators, service providers and customers. Ann has developed particular expertise in the drafting of legislative and regulatory frameworks to facilitate sector restructuring, liberalisation and privatisation in emerging markets.

From 1996-2003, Ann served as Chief International Counsel of MCI Communications Corp. (now Verizon), based in Brussels and London. She played an integral role in formulating company policy on sector regulation, competition law and data protection and advocated the company’s position before the European Commission and national authorities. In that capacity, she instructed external competition counsel acting for the company in the investigation of several watershed mergers and joint ventures requiring review of multiple telecommunications and internet markets. She also managed the company’s compliance initiatives with regard to implementation of the EU data protection rules. 

Prior to 1996, Ann was a US-based partner with our firm, where she had an active practice before the US Federal Communications Commission and other US agencies with jurisdiction over the telecommunications and postal sectors. She provided transactional advice and regulatory counsel to US- and non-US-based clients in both the public and private sectors on a broad range of communications and data privacy-related matters. She also served as an adviser to governments and regulatory authorities in connection with privatisation and liberalisation initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.


Explore

  • Advising various fixed and mobile telecommunications operators and other industry participants in the UK and across Europe and the Middle East on a range of regulatory issues including mobile network sharing arrangements, mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangements, terms and conditions of retail fixed and mobile offers, consumer codes of conduct, applications for code powers in the UK, spectrum allocation and assignment, net neutrality, next generation networks, market definition, SMP assessments and remedies, functional separation and equivalency, reference access and interconnection offers, wholesale pricing and quality of service obligations, mobile termination, accounting separation, margin squeeze issues, abuse of dominance concerns and state aid.
  • Advising governments and bidders in EMEA on the design and implementation of spectrum auctions, participation in beauty contests, single sealed bid competitions and sophisticated electronic auctions, including legal issues involving transparency, discrimination and state aid concerns.
  • Providing on-going regulatory and competition law advice on a range of pricing, marketing and infrastructure sharing issues for a major mobile operator in Central Europe.
  • Advising another major operator in Central Europe on a range of competition and regulatory issues, including the application of margin squeeze tests.
  • Advising a major pan-European operator on regulatory issues associated with the introduction of Machine-to-Machine communications services in several Gulf States.
  • Advising a UK systems integrator and provider of Machine-to-Machine communications services on applicable regulatory issues in several key EU members states, and advice on contractual issues relating to its underlying wholesale agreement with a major European mobile network operator.
  • Advising a major Turkish mobile network operator on EU practice at the national level in five key Member States when implementing the E-Privacy Directive in relation to notice and consent required for the use of customer traffic and location data for advanced services.
  • Advising a cable television operator in the Caribbean region on a wide range of regulatory matters including SMP designations and obligations, reference access and interconnection offers, accounting separation, broadband resale offer, margin squeeze and merger review issues.
  • Drafting a new legislative framework for the electronic communications sector of a government in the Caribbean region, assisting with the start-up of the new sector regulator and advising the regulator on implementation of the new regulatory framework.
  • Acting as adviser to a bidding consortium on regulatory matters in connection with the issuance of, and proposed operation under, the second and third mobile licenses and a competitive data license in Saudi Arabia.
  • Acting for a joint venture company created to provide GSM communications on board aircraft in the company’s successful campaign to obtain approval of the service from regional bodies and to secure regulatory authorizations for the use of spectrum and to operate airborne GSM services in more than 20 countries across Europe and the Middle East.

Data Protection 

  • Advising B2C and B2B clients on GDPR gap analysis, data protection impact assessments and remediation options. 
  • Conducting privacy impact assessments of cross-border operations and processes relating to the processing of personal data.
  • Advising on the data protection implications of deploying global HR information systems and compliance options.
  • Developing EU-compliant solutions for cross-border cloud computing arrangements.
  • Counselling on the application of EU data protection and e-privacy rules to new products, services and applications.
  • Advising on data breach response and crisis management.
  • Advising on options for achieving EU-compatibility of whistle-blower schemes.
  • Analysing variations in the application of the General Directive and E-Privacy Directive in key Member States across the EU with regard to traffic and location data and message content.
  • Advising on evolving legislative and policy changes at EU level in the area of data protection and privacy.

Education

  • King's College, London, EC Competition Law, 2001
  • Georgetown University, J.D., with honors, 1980
  • Georgetown University, M.S.F.S., 1980
  • Middlebury College, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1976

Admissions

  • District of Columbia, 1980
  • England and Wales, 1980

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Communications (IIC).
  • Special Advisor on data protection matters to the Board of the Storage Networking Industry Association - Europe. 
  • Member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
  • Member of the American, International, Federal Communications and District of Columbia Bar Associations. 
  • Regular lecturer on legal issues in Modern Spectrum Policy Management.

Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Recommended in Chambers UK 2018 for Data Protection; Telecommunications: Non-transactional, UK-wide
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2017 for IT and telecoms
  • Recognized as a Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Trailblazer for 2016 by the National Law Journal
  • Recognized as a leading individual by Chambers UK 2016
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2015 for EU and competition; Competition litigation; Data Protection; IT & Telecoms
  • Exclusive recipient of the International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Award for Telecommunications in both 2015 and 2016
  • Commended for her "very impressive knowledge of the telecoms industry." She advises on regulatory matters, recently acting for clients across Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Sources particularly highlight her understanding of policy issues and foresight in handling matters for clientele - Chambers UK, 2014.
  • Recommended for her "notable expertise in telecommunications"- Legal 500 UK, 2014

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  • Presenter, “GDPR: Big Data & Security Analytics,” Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit, London, United Kingdon, September 19, 2017.
  • Presenter, “GDPR Gap Analysis, Data Protection Impact and Remediation,” Android Enterprise, London, United Kingdom, June 7, 2017.
  • Co-author, “E-Privacy, Telcos and Online Providers: Issues of Consent,” InterMEDIA, July 2013.
  • Chair, Microsoft and World Economic Forum Workshop on “Creating a Data Ecosystem Focused on the Individual,” London, 2013.
  • Speaker, “Squire Sanders In-House Counsel Training Program: EU Data Protection Essentials,” 2013.
  • Panelist, General Counsel Roundtable for the Chemicals Industry, “Crisis Management & Response – Tips from the Frontline,” 2013.
  • Speaker, Informa’s Annual Telco Cloud World Forum, “Legal and Regulatory Issues Affecting Cloud Providers and Customers,” London, 2011-12.
  • Chair, European Competitive Telecoms Association (ECTA) Annual Regulatory Conference, Data Protection and e-Privacy Workshop, Brussels, 2010-12.
  • Speaker, SNW Europe – Cloud Computing and IT Infrastructure Conference, Data Protection Regulation and Trends, Frankfurt, 2011.