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The Privacy Advisor | For DHS' Lynn Parker Dupree, CPO role is a homecoming Related reading: DHS appoints new CPO


After spending time working in the private sector, Lynn Parker Dupree, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, is heading home.

Dupree has been named the new chief privacy officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after a stint as the director of governance and controls at Capital One. She returns to DHS after previously serving in the Privacy Office and the Office of the General Counsel at the agency.

"I am very honored to be the new chief privacy officer," Dupree said. "My very first job in privacy was actually in the DHS privacy office. To be back in this capacity is both an honor and a privilege and is humbling, and I take it very seriously."

The privacy industry has noticeably evolved since Dupree left the Department in 2014. As she begins her tenure as CPO, Dupree wants the agency to be equipped to adapt and respond to the ever-changing privacy landscape.

Dupree's eyes are set on addressing the growth of technologies that have an "outsized impact" on personal privacy. One of her goals is to ensure the agency is well-represented when discussions take place on technology and other privacy-related topics.

"What I would like to see for the Privacy Office is that any time there is a policy decision being made, our subject matter experts will have a seat at the table to help craft responsible policies and practices that govern the way we collect, use, share and maintain information and really be transparent about how we work," Dupree said.

While it has been a few years since Dupree roamed the halls at DHS, she expects her previous experience to play a big part as CPO. Dupree said in her first stint with the agency, she spent time working on information sharing and assisting with the trainings for Fusion Centers, which are "state-owned and operated centers that serve as focal points in states and major urban areas for the receipt, analysis, gathering and sharing of threat-related information between State, Local, Tribal and Territorial, federal and private sector partners."

Dupree gained experience not just in privacy matters, but also in the Freedom of Information Act responsibilities tasked to the office. In particular, Dupree's time in the Office of the General Counsel gave her wider exposure to how DHS operates, which she said will inform how she approaches her new title.

But it won't just be her time at DHS that will shape Dupree's stint as CPO. Dupree held several titles when working at the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the last of which was executive director.

As executive director, Dupree interacted with DHS in various capacities, giving her a different viewpoint into the Department's activities. By getting an outsider's view, Dupree said it helped flesh out how the Department's work could be perceived by those who are not immersed in the minutiae. 

"Our responsibility is to always think about the transparency aspect of what we are doing," Dupree said. "Does the public understand fully, or as much as they can, how we are collecting, using, maintaining and storing their data? If the expectations aren’t consistent with reality, what is it that needs to happen to make those things line up? Being at the (PCLOB) really drove that home to me, so that is how I think will approach this role, making sure what we do is consistent with what we are saying publicly and what expectations might be."

Most of Dupree's privacy career has been government adjacent, but her latest role was in Capital One's Data Ethics and Privacy Office. Dupree said her time in the private sector taught her the core privacy skills obtained throughout her career transfer easily regardless of the environment.

Dupree said the ethical quandaries she considered while working at Capitol One match up well with the core work of the DHS Privacy Office.

"When we are thinking about data ethics, it’s not only what is legally required or how we handle and use data, but also what is the right thing to do beyond what the law requires. That’s what I spent a lot of time thinking about in the private sector," Dupree said. "As a policy office, the Privacy Office is poised to do that. There are questions about what is legal, but there is a separate question and a separate analysis of what is prudent."

Though her tenure as CPO for DHS is only in its infancy, Dupree is excited for the opportunities to have the privacy office become an important resource for the entire Department. Returning to the agency has been a full-circle moment for Dupree, and she is happy to be back home.

"I am very optimistic about the future of the privacy office and the service that we can provide to the rest of the department, and I’m looking forward to working with everybody across the department and with the team of dedicated professionals that are currently here," Dupree said. "Because I’ve worked at the Privacy Office before and because in all my other capacities I have engaged with the privacy offices across the federal government, including the DHS office, what I know is this team is tirelessly dedicated to doing their job at the highest levels of their ability. I appreciate that, and I appreciate and am very thankful to have them."

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

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