President & CEO, Center for Democracy & Technology
Nuala O’Connor is the President & CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology. She is an internationally recognized expert in Internet and technology policy, particularly in the areas of privacy and information governance. Nuala is passionate about the ways technology and the Internet can be instruments of global free expression and individual freedom, and is committed to finding policy solutions that affect real people.
Nuala became the first statutorily appointed Chief Privacy Officer in federal service when she was named as the first Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security. At DHS she was responsible for groundbreaking policy creation and implementation on the use of personal information in national security and law enforcement. Under her leadership, the DHS Privacy Office issued a seminal report criticizing the use of private-sector data in national security efforts. Prior to DHS, Nualaserved as Deputy Director of the Office of Policy & Strategic Planning, Chief Privacy Officer and as the Chief Counsel for Technology at the US Department of Commerce, where she worked on global technology policy, including Internet governance and industry best practices.
Nuala’s time in the technology sector began at DoubleClick, where she was part of a team of professionals brought in to address public outcry over the advertising giant’s proposal to merge on- and offline data sets. She managed numerous class actions, a multistate settlement with state attorneys general, and an FTC investigation, before going on to help found the privacy compliance department, which served as an influential model for companies in the technology sector and beyond.
Nuala holds an AB from Princeton, an M.Ed. from Harvard, and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, and is the recipient of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Vanguard Award, the Executive Women’s Forum’s Woman of Influence award, and was named to the Federal 100, and “Geek of the Week” by the Minority Media & Telecom Council in May 2013. She also served as the Chairman of the Board of IAPP.
Nuala was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and grew up in and around New York City.