Twitter executive Nicole Wong is joining the Obama administration as deputy U.S. chief technology officer, the White House said in a statement Thursday.
Wong, who has been Twitter’s legal director of products since November, will be working on Internet privacy and technology issues, according to a spokesman for the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Wong has “tremendous expertise in these domains and an unrivaled reputation for fairness, and we look forward to having her on our team,” the office said in a statement.
Thursday’s announcement resolves weeks of speculation that Wong would join the administration as an adviser on such issues. She is widely admired in the industry as a leading thinker on free speech and privacy issues and has helped to shape how companies balance the need to comply with global speech laws and fulfill a role as emerging forums for global conversation.
She joins the administration at a time when many are questioning the government’s commitment to data privacy and consumer protection.
After the Guardian and The Washington Post began reporting on the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program — which has collected citizens’ and foreigners’ cellphone and Internet data from firms such as Google and Verizon — technology companies began asking the government for permission to share more information about that relationship.
Twitter was not among the nine tech firms named in leaked slides detailing the PRISM program, an omission that has burnished the firm’s reputation for consumer privacy and security.
But Wong has earned a similar reputation on her own. As vice president and deputy general counsel at Google, she was nicknamed “The Decider” while helping to determine when to censor results on the company’s search engine or clips on its YouTube video service that governments claimed ran afoul of local laws.
Wong confirmed her departure from Twitter with a message on her account Wednesday night. She will work with U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park.
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