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Katy Ruckle Named Washington State Chief Privacy Officer

Washington CIO Jim Weaver has chosen Ruckle, the privacy officer and information governance administrator for the Department of Social and Health Services. She starts in the new role Jan. 1.

data privacy
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Katy Ruckle will become chief privacy officer of Washington on Jan. 1, 2020. She was selected by CIO and Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech) Director Jim Weaver. 

Ruckle will replace Wilford Saunders Jr., who took over the position in May after the departure of the state's first privacy officer, Alex Alben.

Vickie Sheehan, WaTech communications director, confirmed to Government Technology that Saunders left WaTech in late November and is now working with the Washington Department of Licensing, where he serves as data stewardship and privacy administrator. 

Ruckle is currently the privacy officer and information governance administrator for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), where she has instituted privacy practices for five administrations with well more than 15,000 total employees. 

“She brings tremendous leadership, enthusiasm and commitment in the area of improving privacy practices across state government,” Weaver said in a press release. “Safeguarding individual privacy in a digital world is a critical issue for governments at all levels. Katy’s thought leadership and expertise will make her an asset to the state’s privacy efforts.”

Ruckle created and put in place the privacy program at DSHS. She has also managed the activities of 18 privacy coordinators at the agency and has extensive experience helping with contracts that involve protection of sensitive data. 

Like many state CPOs, Ruckle has a legal background, having worked as a judicial clerk at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and as a law clerk at the Marion County District Attorney’s Office in Salem, Oregon.  

Thirteen states currently employ CPOs, though they may refer to the position by different names.

Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.
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