By Angelique Carson, CIPP/US

The Center for Democracy and Technology’s (CDT) Board of Directors has announced Nuala O’Connor, CIPP/US, CIPP/G, has been named president and CEO. O’Connor will assume the post January 21.  

O’Connor says she took the job because of the critical juncture we find ourselves at when it comes to privacy online.

“The CDT is a historically important organization, and we are at an incredibly critical time in the conversation around Internet freedom, online privacy, the creation of the online self—and I think CDT plays a central role in that dialogue,” O’Connor told The Privacy Advisor.

In announcing  O’Connor’s selection, CDT President Leslie Harris, who has headed the organization since 2005, said “Nuala is a brilliant choice to lead CDT. She is a passionate advocate for civil liberties, highly expert about the emerging global challenges and fully committed to CDT’s mission. She is a bold leader who will guide CDT into its next chapter. I have had the honor of working with CDT’s talented and thoughtful team for almost nine years. I am confident that they will thrive with Nuala at the helm.”

Nuala O'Connor

The CDT is a nonprofit public policy organization that works to inform policy when it comes to the Internet, including enhancing freedom of speech online and limiting government surveillance. In an exclusive with The Privacy Advisor earlier this year, Harris said the CDT’s search committee, which hired O’Connor, was seeking someone “with the capacity to globalize CDT … someone who understands the space and the issues. I lead a band of equals, and that’s part of our strength.”

O’Connor agrees that globalizing the CDT will be a high priority.

“I think it’s a really important growth opportunity and public service opportunity for over the course of the coming years,” she said. “All of these challenges are really global, and we need to have global dialogue about them.”

O’Connor, who served as chair of the IAPP Board of Directors in 2010, has plenty of experience in the field. She comes to the CDT from Amazon, where she’s worked as associate general counsel on privacy and data protection. Prior to that, O’Connor served as chief privacy officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce and later the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before settling in at General Electric as chief privacy leader and senior counsel.

Deirde Mulligan, who led the CDT’s hiring committee, cited O’ Connor’s work at DHS in a post-9/11 world as a major reason she’s right for the job.

“She fought for and implemented policies to protect the human rights of U.S. and global citizens in a climate of overreaching surveillance efforts,” Mulligan said in the CDT’s announcement of O’Connor’s selection.

In the short-term, O’Connor says surveillance nears the top of her priority list.

“Hopefully I have something to offer on those topics, having worked in government before,” she said. “But I’m also very interested in some of the work we’ve seen coming out about the impact of online decision-making. I’m interested in the individual’s experience of the online community. Are we opening minds and doors to information? Or is government making decisions that aren’t entirely transparent. How do we improve that?”

Read More by Angelique Carson:
Commission Gives U.S. 13 Ways To Save Safe Harbor
Looking for Love? Try a Privacy Conference
Downstream of the Data Breach: Identity Theft Is A Messy Crime

Safe Harbor’s In Trouble—Unless You Ask the U.S.


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Advertise in IAPP Publications

Find out how to get your message in front the people you want to reach. Download a media kit now.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Registration Open

New! Intensive two-day GDPR training led by the sharpest minds in the field. It's a can't-miss event.

The Congress Is Cancelled

The IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2015 is cancelled. Click through to learn more.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»