HSD names privacy officer

HSD names privacy officer

Nuala O'Connor Kelly, a veteran of senior privacy assignments in the public and private sectors, will become the first privacy officer of the Homeland Security Department, HSD officials said this afternoon.

O'Connor Kelly now is the privacy officer, chief counsel for technology and deputy director for policy and planning at the Commerce Department. Formerly, she was vice president for data protection and chief privacy officer for the online advertising agency DoubleClick Inc. of New York.

HSD said O'Connor Kelly would be responsible for 'ensuring that the use of technologies within the department sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections.'

O'Connor Kelly joined DoubleClick as the company struggled with controversy over its privacy policies brought on by its decision to mingle personal data collected online with data collected offline, according to Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

'She helped them address that and get back on track with a more explicit privacy policy and help them understand the issue,' said Dempsey, a privacy advocate. 'The main thing she did was explain to them that they needed to take the privacy issue seriously, not just as a matter of public relations but as a matter of restoring trust with the public.'

Dempsey added, 'I think it is a good appointment. I think Nuala has a track record on privacy'she knows the privacy issues.' He said she 'is a good listener as well as a good advocate'what will be important is her independence. I understand she will report directly to [HSD secretary Tom] Ridge and that is important'I expect she will be able to consult widely with the privacy community as well as industry about the many pressing privacy issues facing the department.'

Dempsey cited controversies over the Transportation Security Administration's Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II and DHS intelligence analysis as issues for O'Connor Kelly's consideration.

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