The White House tapped Twitter legal director Nicole Wong as its first chief privacy officer, CNET reported. Wong, a Silicon Valley legal veteran, had only been at Twitter about six months; she was previously at Google for eight years.
It’s not entirely clear what the White House chief privacy officer will do. Cabinet-level CPOs are generally tasked with ensuring that their departments follow federal rules for the handling of personal information (see, for instance, these authority and responsibilities of the Homeland Security CPO). It’s fairly likely that the White House CPO would do likewise for the Obama administration, and might also serve as a presidential advisor on privacy-related federal regulations and legislation.
At Google, Wong managed a team of lawyers that reviewed products before launch and combed over everything from removal requests to copyright issues, earning her the nickname “The Decider.” Her appointment is striking because, as CNET’s Declan McCullagh put it, Wong is “a Silicon Valley lawyer who has been immersed in technology issues” and not a member of the Washington establishment.