Ryan Harkins

Ryan Harkins

Adjunct Professor


Privacy Law and Technology


  • JD, University of Washington School of Law with High Honors, 2002
  • BA, Government and International Studies, Magna Cum Laude, University of Notre Dame, 1999


Ryan Harkins is the Director of State Affairs & Public Policy at Microsoft where he serves as the lead lawyer on legislation and policy issues for Microsoft's State Government Affairs team. In that capacity, he has led the company's state and federal work on a range of federal and state privacy and data security issues, including student privacy, encryption and biometrics legislation. He has also lead Microsoft's work on legislation relating to LGBT anti-discrimination and computer science education. Mr. Harkins has also managed a plethora of complex privacy and data security issues as the lead privacy attorney for a number of Microsoft products and services, including Skype, Outlook.com, and Office. He created training programs on privacy and data security issues for Microsoft lawyers and engineers. He has particular expertise on privacy issues relating to product and service development, Big Data, the Internet of Things, wiretap laws, behaviorally targeted advertising, data access rights, data breach and data retention.

Mr. Harkins has testified before a number of legislatures and is a frequent presenter at conferences and other events. Beyond his legal practice, Mr. Harkins has served as a board member of several non-profits, including the Washington Bus Project, which focuses on empowering young people to enter politics, and the Municipal League of King County, which is focused on promoting open and effective local government.


  • "Student Privacy Developments and What They Can Teach Us about the Big Data World," IAPP GLOBAL PRIVACY SUMMIT (March 2015)
  • "Testimony in Support of Washington House Bill 1495" (February & March 2015)
  • "Surveillance in Schools," SEATTLE PECHA KUCHA SOCIETY (February 2015)
  • "Data Security and Privacy: Here a Breach, There a Breach," AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (February 2015)
  • "Testimony in Support of Maine Legislative Document 1780" (March 2014)
  • "Privacy 101," MICROSOFT PRIVACY TRAINING PROGRAM (February 2014)
  • "Preparing for Data Breach," K&L GATES ISSUE UPDATE: CYBER THREATS, CRIMES & SECURITY (June 2013)
  • "The ePrivacy Directive Cookie Rule," TRUSTWORTHY COMPUTING COMMUNITY UPDATE (May 2013)
  • "Privacy and Social Media," MICROSOFT PRIVACY TRAINING PROGRAM (April 2013)
  • "Privacy in the New Office," TRUSTWORTHY COMPUTING EMERGING ISSUES SUMMIT (October 2012)
  • "Privacy and Social Media: FTC Actions Against Google and Facebook" MICROSOFT PRIVACY TRAINING PROGRAM (March 2012)
  • "Legal and Legislative Year in Review," MICROSOFT IT & OPERATIONS SUMMIT (September 2011)
  • "Confidential Information and the Attorney-Client Privilege," TWC & LCA TRAINING PROGRAM (May 2011)
  • "U.S. Email and Mobile Marketing Campaigns-Stay Compliant with Practical Guidance," MICROSOFT PRIVACY TRAINING PROGRAM (April 2011)
  • "Legislative and Legal Update," MICROSOFT SERVICES PRIVACY SUMMIT (March 2011)
  • Comment, "Holding Tortfeasors Accountable: Apportionment of Enhanced Injuries Under Washington's Scheme of Comparative Fault," 76 WASH. L. REV. 1185 (2001)