White House picks long-time Googler as first chief privacy officer (report)

The Obama Administration has reportedly selected Nicole Wong for the the new job of chief privacy officer. Wong, who has worked as a senior lawyer for both Google and Twitter, has a reputation in the tech and legal community for defending online freedom.

The appointment, which was reported by CNET and has yet to be confirmed, comes at a time of growing public concern over data collection tools that scour everything from smartphones to shopping records, and make it easy for companies and governments to collect information about individuals.

The Obama Administration’s decision to appoint Wong may therefore represent an attempt by the government to find new ways to balance the power of data with preserving liberty and privacy.

During her time at Google, Wong fought the governments of Turkey and Pakistan over YouTube censorship, and she has also worked with The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a respected cyber-advocacy group.

Wong’s appointment also comes at a time when Google chairman Eric Schmidt has been calling attention to the growing threat of governments using Western technology to spy on and oppress their citizens.

Wong, who joined Twitter last November, is the second long-time Google lawyer to be hired by the White House in recent months. The Administration recently hired former Googler Michelle Lee to head the troubled Patent Office.

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