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White House reportedly appoints first Chief Privacy Officer, and she's a Silicon Valley veteran (update)

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White House stock obama - from White House flickr
White House stock obama - from White House flickr

President Obama has reportedly created a new job at the White House — chief privacy officer. And filling this new role will be Twitter's current legal director, Nicole Wong, according to a CNET report. Wong, who has been at Twitter the last seven months, is a Silicon Valley vet and admired legal mind in the field.

Wong joined Twitter last November to build up the company's legal team, as well as handle first amendment, and privacy issues at the company, according to a report from AllThingsD. Previously, she was a vice president and deputy general counsel at Google. Wong spent nearly eight years at Google, reviewing products for privacy and Wong is a Silicon Valley vet and admired legal mind copyright concerns before launch. While at Google, she was given the nickname "The Decider" by her colleagues, as noted in a 2008 New York Times Magazine feature story on the company's legal team. The nickname, and Wong's expertise, are so well known in the Valley that her counterparts across Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo have taken the nickname "The Deciders" in her honor when getting together to talk informally about free speech and censorship issues.

Before joining Google, Wong was a partner for seven years at the San Francisco office of the Perkins Coie law firm, where she worked on intellectual property, internet, and e-commerce issues with clients such as Yahoo, Dell, General Electric, as well as startups. In 2000, while at Perkins Coie, she also testified before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution about the difficulties online companies face in protecting user privacy, while cooperating with law enforcement agencies who request user information.

Wong received her law degree at the University of California at Berkeley. Both Twitter and White House officials were unavailable for comment on Wong's move.

Update: AllThingsD has updated its earlier reporting and is now saying that Wong is headed to the White House, but she won't be chief privacy officer. Rather, AllThingsD says she'll be focusing on online privacy issues as a senior advisor to Obama's chief technology officer, Todd Park. Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that Wong is in discussions for a White House post, but that this isn't yet a done deal. The Times says that Wong is among a group of Silicon Valley executives who are finalists, interviewing for a new tech advisory job. For its part, CNET is standing by its reporting that Wong will indeed end up as the first White House CPO.

Update 2: Nicole Wong has announced on Twitter that she will be the new deputy CTO, not Chief Privacy Officer.