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This article was published on May 7, 2013

Twitter legal director to become first ever White House chief privacy officer

Twitter legal director to become first ever White House chief privacy officer

Twitter is now a lawyer short as the company’s Nicole Wong, its legal director, will leave the firm to become the nation’s first White House chief privacy office, CNET today reported.

The role comes at an auspicious time. CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, passed the House of Representatives. The White House, before its passage, floated yet another veto threat at the bill, citing privacy concerns.

Thus, what battles Wong will fight are not hard to surmise; cybersecurity has never been a more discussed issue than now. China was accused of hacking recently by the United States government, the Wall Street Journal reported:

The Chinese government has targeted U.S. government computer systems for intrusion, the Pentagon said Monday in a more direct accusation of cyberespionage than the U.S. has made in the past. While American officials have long charged that China is a top perpetrator of cyberespionage, a new Pentagon report goes a step further, blaming some cyberintrusions directly on the government and its military.

Those are not small claims.

Intrusion of the sort mentioned above is a simple abrogation of privacy, but Wong will also likely face issues more subtle; how might the government wish to view privacy online for minors, such as those children that want to join Facebook before the age of 13, for example.

Wong joined Twitter in late 2012, making her tenure at the social network short. Previously, she worked for Google, a company that is not itself virgin when it comes to privacy kerfuffles.

A final note: free speech online is currently being hemmed in around the world; the privacy that the Internet can afford – anonymity, in short – is no small issue. The leadership of the United States on the issue isn’t to be underestimated in its potential impact.

Top Image Credit: Andreas Eldh