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U.S. Deputy CTO Nicole Wong is leaving the White House

(Larry Downing/Reuters)
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U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nicole Wong, who focused on privacy and big data issues, is leaving the White House a little more than a year after joining the Obama administration. Wong's last day is Friday; she will return to California where her family lives, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy said in a statement.

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Wong was director of legal products at Twitter and deputy general counsel at Google. At Google, she earned the nickname "The Decider" — a reference to the role she took in 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.

Given her background in dealing with issues of privacy, Internet policy and censorship, many were excited by her decision to join the Obama administration — especially in light of the then-recent revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. At the OSTP, Wong focused on data privacy and Internet policy issues, and was one of the principal authors of the White House big data report released in May. Wong also worked to develop and implement policies related to privacy and U.S. intelligence, the administration said Friday.

"Nicole is an incredibly talented and insightful leader, who has made major contributions to big data, privacy, and Internet policy during her time at the White House," said White House chief technology officer Todd Park in a statement. "We're deeply grateful to Nicole and her family for her service, and will miss her."