Former DHS official to lead Center for Democracy and Technology

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a privacy and free speech advocacy group, has named Nuala O'Connor as its new president and CEO.

O'Connor, currently Amazon's vice president of compliance and consumer trust, will join the organization on Jan. 21. She will succeed Leslie Harris, who is stepping down after nine years leading the group.

O'Connor served as the first chief privacy officer at the Department of Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. She has also worked at the Commerce Department, DoubleClick, General Electric and the law firm Sidley Austin.

ADVERTISEMENT
In a statement, Dierdre Mulligan, the chairwoman of CDT's board, praised O'Connor for pushing civil liberty protections at DHS in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"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. "The Board is thrilled to have Nuala at the helm as CDT expands on 20 years of Internet policy work advancing civil liberties and human rights across the globe."

O'Connor said she is committed to "continuing to grow CDT’s global influence and impact as a voice for the open Internet and for the rights of its users.”

“There has never been a more important time in the fight to keep the Internet open, innovative and free. From government surveillance to data-driven algorithms to the Internet of things, challenges abound," she said. 

Harris called O'Connor a "brilliant choice" for her successor.

O'Connor is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and has degrees from Princeton University, Harvard University and Georgetown University Law Center.