Ridge taps privacy chief

Nuala O'Connor Kelly bio

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Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on April 16 named Nuala O'Connor Kelly as chief privacy officer for the new department, earning praise from those concerned about the department's plans for information collection and analysis.

Department officials, including Chief Information Officer Steve Cooper, have expressed concern over balancing the security and privacy of the information contained in systems with the need to analyze and share that information.

O'Connor Kelly will oversee privacy policy development and enforcement across all of the department's actions.

O'Connor Kelly, who currently serves in the Commerce Department's Technology Administration as chief counsel, is a former vice president for data protection and chief privacy officer for DoubleClick Inc., an online advertising and marketing company that faced many privacy challenges during her time there.

All of this makes her a good candidate to take on potential problems at DHS, said Mark Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "She is very familiar with the privacy issues [and] she's been on the front lines of another big privacy battle," he said.

Because O'Connor Kelly knows people in the Bush administration and in the privacy community, "she has the skills to do the job," said Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. "The question is what exactly [department and administration officials] will allow her to do."

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