Privacy Advisor

Will the White House Soon Have A Chief Privacy Officer or Not?

May 8, 2013

By Sam Pfeiffle
Publications Director

The privacy world got pretty excited yesterday when news broke from CNET that the White House had chosen Twitter Legal Director Nicole Wong as “the White House’s first chief privacy officer.” 

Certainly, that would be excellent validation of the privacy profession and an indication that the White House was taking privacy matters very seriously, indeed.

However, as we here at The Privacy Advisor began to ask our members and industry authorities for reaction to the announcement, two independent sources with knowledge of the situation told us the CNET story was “inaccurate.”

Neither would say if the inaccuracy had to do with Wong or simply with the title that CNET had reported she would be given.

Today, in his Wiretap blog for the Mercury News, Peter Delevett referred to Wong as “in the running to be named a top Obama administration advisor on privacy issues.”

He referred to the CNET article as well and said he had sources giving him information similar to that given to us here at the Advisor:

CNET initially reported Tuesday that Wong would be named President Barack Obama's chief privacy officer,” Delevett wrote, “which would have been a first for any presidential administration. But a source familiar with the situation said the White House is in discussions with several people about the position, which would be a senior adviser to Obama's chief technology officer.”

CNET has revised its story as well today, now saying “the new position will be a senior adviser to the chief technology officer, currently Todd Park, and will focus on Internet and privacy policy.” However, the story’s lead and title still refers to a “chief privacy officer.”

The Privacy Advisor continues to follow this story.

Read More By Sam Pfeifle:
The BYOD Dilemma: What’s Yours and What’s Theirs?
Canada’s Grapple with Privacy and Freedom of Expression
Will Privacy Keep Companies From Striking Big Oil?
Hustinx Outlines Road Ahead for Regulation