Arkansas Finds Its First Chief Privacy Officer in Former Counselor

The former general counsel to the Department of Information Systems has returned, this time as the state's privacy czar.

by / June 20, 2018
The CIO for Arkansas state government recently stepped down. Several more states can expect turnover in the job that oversees their vast computer systems and databases. David Kidd/Government Technology

The state of Arkansas has found its first chief privacy officer in a former counselor, Jennifer Davis. 

The Department of Information Systems made the announcement June 20, saying that Davis, an attorney, would lead efforts to ensure state agencies comply with the laws surrounding privacy and protected data.
 
“Mrs. Davis will work in partnership with the CDO by providing guidance to ensure that data sharing agreements protect individual privacy as required by law and by developing policies and processes designed to protect citizen data,” DIS Director Yessica Jones said in a news release.
 
Prior to being tapped to lead the state’s privacy efforts, Davis served as a legal adviser within the Arkansas Department of Education for four years. Before that, she served as general counsel for DIS. 
 
“As CPO, my goal is to work with other state agencies to establish a robust data privacy program that will provide a more efficient response to the needs of the citizens of Arkansas,” Davis said in the release. “I look forward to understanding the unique needs and particular circumstances of each agency and collaborating with them to resolve any legal or analytical challenges of an enterprise privacy solution.”
 
The legislation that created Davis’ position during the 2017 General Assembly also created the chief data officer role within the state. That role is currently occupied by Richard Wang.