Game of Thrones meets the world of privacy. See who our poll reveals as privacy’s GoT nasties and heroes.


Game of Thrones is filled with intrigue, deception, redemption, conflict, heroism and deal-cutting. That sounds scarily like the world of privacy. So – we wondered – who are characters in the privacy world that most resemble those in Game of Thrones?

The Privacy Surgeon recently published a poll to ask this very question. To discover who won the role of Tyrion Lannister, the evil Ramsay Bolton and others, check out the list below. The winners may surprise you.


Varys Jules > Jules Polonetsky

If Varys was around today, he would probably have as many LinkedIn connections as Jules. And that’s a lot. The co-leader of the Future of Privacy Forum has an unprecedented web of Little Birds across the privacy world and beyond, making him a valuable consort to industry.


The Night’s King > Eric Schmidt

Both characters are seemingly unstoppable forces, the only difference being that Schmidt’s army can probably walk on water. Or at least, it can monetise the water and change its conditions. Google is the White Walkers of privacy, devastating the fortresses that have been built to protect information rights. Only the Dragon Glass of EU law and the FTC will stop them.


Arya Stark > Gus Hosein

You don’t mess with either Arya or Gus. Both give the appearance of being innocent and gentle, but wrath is certain upon any wrong-doer. It’s not clear whether Gus, who runs the leading campaign group Privacy International, has a “list”, but if he does, you wouldn’t want to be on it.

Tyrion Lannister > Marc Rotenberg

Intellectually honest, fiercely strategic and deeply intuitive, Tyrion and EPIC’s president are a force to be reckoned with. Always counselling diplomacy and due process, Marc could well be the most influential figure in at least four of the seven privacy kingdoms. Sure, he’s three feet taller than Tyrion, but we can’t hold that against him.


Samuel Tarley > Michael Froomkin

If you ever wanted to discover the fine details of strategy or magic, you’d go to Sam. If you want to discover the intricacies of privacy, you would go to Michael. This University of Miami professor has a reputation for laying bare the dynamics of the privacy world.


The High Sparrow > Joe Cannataci

Both the High Sparrow and the UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy received a mandate from the gods to do good on earth. In the end, both failed to make the grade, though Cannataci is likely to exit in a less spectacular way than the High Sparrow. Or will he?



Jaime Lannister > Brad Smith

Both characters have a past, and both have strived to gain some redemption from it. Smith, Microsoft’s President, now presides over a corporation that was once – root and branch – the Evil Empire. Now, battling the US DoJ over customer privacy, he has gained a horde of new recruits. Still, like Lannister, there are many who despise his business model and lay in wait to overthrow Smith’s armies. He needs more reinforcements and more privacy strategy.


Petyr Baelish > Peter Thiel

Let’s face it, Lord Baelish – Littlefinger – is an odious sort of character. He’s not as powerful as other figures, but he gets his sticky tentacles everywhere and poisons whatever he can. This is like what the policing technology group Palantir does to privacy. Look carefully and you’ll see Baelish’s smirk mirrored on Thiel’s face.


Daenerys Targaryen > Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin

World domination: that’s the phrase that springs to mind with these two. Daenyris used dragons; Isabelle uses her political nous. The president of France’s national watchdog CNIL soon became Chair of the Article 29 group of EU commissioners. Before long she will doubtless sit on the Iron Throne of the seven privacy kingdoms. Or, at least, three of them.


Hodor > Phil Booth

Physically, Hodor and Phil are both gentle and loyal giants, but (voice skills aside), the similarities don’t end there. Phil Booth of the UK’s MedConfidential NGO (and formerly head of the anti-ID group NO2ID) is a Hodor of Britain’s privacy world, always there to hold the door against invading forces.


Ramsay Bolton > Mark Zuckerberg

This match comes as no surprise. When it comes to torturing and subjugating the world of privacy, nothing does it more effectively than Facebook. Well, the Night’s King might just beat it, but that role was given to Google. Anyway, if you can imagine privacy being tied naked to a wall, you can just see Zuckerberg doing the business equivalent of flaying and dismembering it. Does Mark have Ramsay’s eyes, or is that just our imagination?


Davos Seaworth > Joe McNamee

Ah yes, sometimes there is almost total love and respect for a Game of Thrones character (well, we do have Bran, but there’s no-one in the privacy world with the gift of a three eyed Raven). But Davos is a pillar of rights and dignity and like him, Joe McNamee’s European Digital Rights (EDRi) has become the most effective and trusted rights organisation in Europe. He’s universally respected guy, but do not underestimate him in a clash!


Jon Snow > John MacAfee

Standing up against mighty forces, defying the odds, wielding the sword of righteousness. Yes indeed, that’s John McAfee. And like Jon Snow, he has dealt with some very unsavoury characters in bizarre situations. The McAfee security company founder continues to astonish everyone with his antics.