6.28.2013

Nicole Wong officially joins White House as deputy chief technology officer



Almost overlooked this significant bit of news... Last week, the White House officially announced that Twitter executive Nicole Wong has joined the Obama administration as its new deputy U.S. chief technology officer: Twitter's Nicole Wong joins White House as deputy chief technology officer.

Wong, who has been Twitter's legal director since last year, will work as adviser on issues of internet privacy and technology for the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. News of her appointment broke weeks ago, but this makes it official. She will basically be responsible for helping the White House make up the rules of the internets.

In the very least, Wong's appointment appears to be part of an effort by the Obama administration to reassure citizens that their privacy rights will be protected. The White House has been under the gun about the government's role in data mining and surveillance, thanks in part to controversy over its PRISM spying program. “The fact that this position exists reflects the importance we attach to the issue,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters last week. “I would point you to everything I just said about the president's views on the balance that we need to strike between our national security interests and protecting the American people, as well as protecting our values and our privacy.”

Wong has a stellar reputation for aggressively protecting individual privacy rights, earned during many battles she fought against the Bush and Obama administrations during her eight years as Google's vice president and deputy general counsel. She joined Twitter as its legal director just seven months ago. Friends and former colleagues say she has mastered the complexities of cutting-edge internet and social media technologies and how the law should or shouldn't apply to them.

But beyond individual privacy, Wong's real passion and expertise is in using companies like Google, Twitter and YouTube (which Google bought in 2006) to promote freedom and democracy and fight repression and censorship. At Google in particular, she fought against more than 25 countries, including China, Turkey and Pakistan, that tried to limit the flow of information and videos as a way to stifle dissent and free speech.
More here: The most important person entering US government you've never heard of.