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The Privacy Advisor | WA Announces First State-Level CPO Related reading: Notes from the IAPP, May 7, 2021



Yesterday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that Alex Alben has been appointed as the state’s first Chief Privacy Officer. Alben, the author of Analog Days—How Technology Rewrote Our Future and the former General Counsel at Starwave Corporation, will work in the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

“With new technologies that increasingly impact consumer privacy,” said Gov. Inslee, “protection of privacy must be a core value for our state government. We want to be a leader in this field.”

Alben, who also has lectured on technology issues at Stanford Law School, U.C. Berkeley and the UW School of Law, said the obvious trends toward big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will only make privacy more complex in coming years, and it’s important for Washington to both keep up with and get out ahead of these technological advances. “We need to balance the rights of individuals, First Amendment concerns, our state’s public disclosure requirements and the needs of law enforcement,” he said.

“Alex’s background in law and advocacy of privacy rights,” State CIO Michael Cockrill agreed, “will enrich our ability to get in front of new issues and help shape Washington’s privacy policies in the digital era.”

Washington joins U.S. states like Ohio (Daren Arnold, CIPP/US), West Virginia (Sallie Milam, CIPP/G, CIPP/US) and South Carolina (Sarah Morrow, CIPP/US, the first SC CPO in 2013, recently left as CPO; Alexander White, CIPP/C, CIPP/E, CIPP/G, CIPP/US, CIPM is Deputy Chief Privacy Officer as SC fills the position) among a handful of states with statewide positions for chief privacy officers. 

“We want to be a leader in this field,” said Gov. Inslee, “to improve the security protecting the data the state collects while also building upon our strong tradition of transparency and open government.”

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  • comment Steve • May 1, 2015
    It's very encouraging to see states pick up the pace and take the privacy of their constituents seriously.   Congrats to Alex and to Gov. Inslee for recognizing this fact and taking a big step toward helping WA state "make privacy a core value for our state government."  I trust more states will follow the lead and fill similar positions.