Staff Biography

Nuala O’Connor

President & CEO

Nuala O’Connor

President & CEO

Nuala O’Connor is the President & CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology. She is an internationally recognized expert in Internet and technology policy, particularly in the areas of privacy and information governance. Nuala is passionate about the ways technology and the Internet can be instruments of global free expression and individual freedom, and is committed to finding policy solutions that affect real people. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, and is the recipient of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Vanguard Award, the Executive Women’s Forum’s Woman of Influence award, and was named to the Federal 100, and “Geek of the Week” by the Minority Media & Telecom Council in May 2013. She also served as the Chairman of the Board of IAPP

Nuala’s time in the technology sector began at DoubleClick, where she was part of a team of professionals brought in to address public outcry over the advertising giant’s proposal to merge on- and offline data sets. She managed numerous class actions, a multistate settlement with state attorneys general, and an FTC investigation before going on to help found the privacy compliance department, which served as an influential model for companies in the technology sector and beyond.

Later, Nuala served as Deputy Director of the Office of Policy & Strategic Planning, Chief Privacy Officer and as the Chief Counsel for Technology at the US Department of Commerce, where she worked on global technology policy including Internet governance and industry best practices. She became the first statutorily appointed Chief Privacy Officer in federal service when she was named as the first Chief Privacy Officer at the Department of Homeland Security. At DHS she was responsible for groundbreaking policy creation and implementation regarding the use of personal information in national security and law enforcement. Under her leadership, the DHS Privacy Office issued a seminal report criticizing the use of private-sector data in national security efforts.

Nuala has experience in both the public and private sectors. She was the Global Privacy Leader at General Electric (GE), where she was responsible for privacy policy and practices across GE’s numerous divisions. Prior to joining CDT, she worked at Amazon.com as Vice President of Compliance & Consumer Trust and Associate General Counsel for Data & Privacy Protection.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nuala grew up in and around New York City.  She holds an AB from Princeton, an M.Ed. from Harvard, and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.  She lives in the Washington, DC, area with her three school-aged children and too many pets to mention.