Obama’s deputy CTO leaves White House

Nicole Wong, one of the Obama administration’s top people on technology and privacy, is leaving the White House.

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According to a representative, Wong, U.S. deputy chief technology officer, is returning to California, where her family lives.

Wong, formerly of Twitter and Google, joined the White House in May 2013.

During her tenure, the White House worked on multiple tech issues, including a report from administration officials earlier this year on “big data,” the ability for companies and others to collect, analyze and share increasing amounts of information about consumers.

The report, released in May, directed the U.S. government to move forward on a number of data-related measures, including updating a 1986 email surveillance law, creating data security standards and crafting a general consumer privacy bill. 

"Nicole is an incredibly talented and insightful leader, who has made major contributions to big data, privacy and Internet policy during her time at the White House," U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said in a statement.

"We're deeply grateful to Nicole and her family for her service, and will miss her."

Jeff Chester, executive director of privacy watchdog the Center for Digital Democracy, called on the administration to replace Wong with someone lacking her ties to industry.

Wong's role "at the White House was always a concern to the privacy community," he said, referencing her time at Twitter and Google.

As the administration worked on its big data report and continuing push for consumer privacy legislation, Wong's selection as Deputy Chief Technology Officer "raised a question about [the administration's] ultimate commitment" to consumer privacy, Chester said.

"The White House neesd a neutral expert."

-- This post was updated at 5:06 p.m.