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Darren J. Abernethy is an ad tech, data privacy and cybersecurity attorney with more than fifteen years of experience, including in Am Law private practice in Washington, D.C. and as Senior Counsel at a leading privacy technology vendor. He advises clients on matters related to digital advertising, privacy and data protection law compliance, data breach management, privacy and data security considerations in M&A, artificial intelligence and FTC best practices.

Darren's areas of focus include website and mobile application compliance, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other U.S. federal and state privacy laws, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)/ePrivacy, and technology agreements.

Darren is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)’s Publications Advisory Board and is recognized by the IAPP and American Bar Association as a Privacy Law Specialist. He holds IAPP certifications in all 7 areas (Asia, Canada, Europe, Privacy Management, Technology, U.S. Government, and U.S. Private Sector).


  • Data-driven marketing, self-regulatory frameworks (DAA, NAI, IAB), cookie compliance, and emerging advertising technologies
  • Drafting and negotiating the privacy aspects of commercial agreements, including advertising contracts, data processing agreements, and ToS
  • Global privacy programs, policies, and vendor management
  • Cross-border data transfers and data sharing agreements
  • Product counseling and privacy by design
  • Data breach notification laws and state/federal regulator investigations
  • Privacy/cybersecurity/IP-related mergers & acquisitions diligence and negotiations
  • Representing clients in relation to FTC and state attorneys general investigations in relation to security incidents, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, and deceptive practices



  • Counsel a wide range of businesses on U.S., Canadian, and European privacy law compliance, employee privacy, and data protection, including mobile app developers, advertising networks, video game makers, retail and e-commerce leaders, bioscience firms, real estate developers, education technology providers, nationwide movie theatre chains, Internet infrastructure providers, global electronics manufacturers and cryptocurrency platforms.
  • Advise global video gaming and app developers on monetization strategies, contractual protections, loyalty programs, and strategic programmatic advertising partnerships.
  • Assist website and mobile application publishers regarding identity, contextual, and first-party solutions in relation to the deprecation of third-party cookies.
  • Clarifying the California Consumer Privacy Act, EU General Data Protection Regulation, HIPAA, and other sector-specific laws as applied to website and mobile app advertising technologies.
  • Assist dietary supplements company integrate generative artificial intelligence into acceptable employee practices and for use in website searches.
  • Coordinate data breach management, response, and notification for companies in the health-device, global retail, CBD, health care, and other sectors.
  • Drive privacy and data security-focused due diligence in numerous mergers & acquisitions and fundamental corporate transactions.
  • Offer product counsel advice to a leading privacy technology vendor in relation to consent management, direct marketing tools, and individual rights management.
  • Advise global clothing retailer on digital marketing strategies in alignment with the CAN-SPAM Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), and the nuances of local implementations of the EU ePrivacy Directive.
  • Revise geolocation-based services code of conduct for a leading wireless trade association.
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Certifications
    • U.S. Private-Sector (CIPP/US), 2014
    • Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), 2015
    • Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT), 2016
    • IAPP Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP), inaugural class 2016
    • Asia (CIPP/A), 2017
    • Canada (CIPP/C), 2017
    • Europe (CIPP/E), 2017
    • U.S. Government (CIPP/G), 2018
    • IAPP-ABA Privacy Law Specialist, inaugural class 2019

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Media, Technology and Telecoms > Cyber law (including data privacy and data protection), 2024
  • Listed, Euromoney, Rising Stars, “Rising Star - Americas,” 2020
  • Member, IAPP Publications Advisory Board, 2020-Present
  • Member, Future of Privacy Forum, Location & Ad Practices Working Group, 2017-Present
  • Member, Digital Advertising Alliance, Program Advisory Committee, 2019-2020
  • Member, Board of Directors, Duke Law Club of Northern California, 2016-Present
  • Hackathon Judge/Panelist, OneTraction, 2016-Present


  • B.A., magna cum laude, Duke University, 2004
  • J.D., College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, 2008
  • California
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • French