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Privacy & Data

Elizabeth Laird to Lead CDT’s Expanded Student Privacy Advocacy

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a nonprofit that advocates for digital rights, is excited to welcome Elizabeth Laird as Senior Fellow to lead its Student Privacy Project. Elizabeth will help expand CDT’s efforts on student privacy, working to advance strong privacy practices and policies that protect the rights of students and families.

“Elizabeth brings deep expertise to CDT, both in how to implement strong privacy practices at the state and district level and how to influence change at the national level. Her passion for protecting the privacy rights of children is evident in all her work. We’re excited to have her leading our growing portfolio of student privacy efforts at the national, state, and local levels,” said Nuala O’Connor, CDT President & CEO.

“I am thrilled to join an organization that is uniquely positioned to promote the value of protecting the privacy rights of children and families while providing technical solutions that balance the promises and pitfalls of education data and technology,” said Elizabeth Laird. “In this role, I aim to address the pressing legal, policy, and technical challenges that I experienced firsthand. Privacy should be a fundamental component of any effort in education to effectively use data and technology to improve outcomes for students.”

The Student Privacy Project will leverage CDT’s existing expertise on privacy and data issues, with an initial focus on digital decision-making and data portability, deletion, and integration. In addition to Elizabeth, Adarsh Mahesh and a staff technologist will support the project, which is partially supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Prior to joining CDT, Elizabeth served as deputy assistant superintendent of data, assessment, and research at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), DC’s state education agency. In that role, she was OSSE’s privacy officer and led the implementation of student privacy training for all staff, reviewed and approved data requests and data systems application releases, and provided guidance to staff on how to collect and protect student data. Before joining OSSE, she was accepted into The Broad Residency in Urban Education and worked at the Louisiana Department of Education where she oversaw the implementation of the state’s student privacy bill. She began her career in education data and privacy at the Data Quality Campaign.

More information about CDT’s Student Privacy Project can be found here.