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New York’s First Chief Privacy Officer Works to Build State Strategy

Chief Privacy Officer Michele Jones outlined how New York state is formalizing its strategy to protect residents’ data at the NASCIO Annual Conference in Louisville, Ky.

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New York Chief Privacy Officer Michele Jones
Government Technology/David Kidd
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At a panel on Emerging Issues in State Privacy at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Annual Conference Monday, NASCIO Program Director Amy Hille Glasscock noted that about half of the states currently have a chief privacy officer (CPO) among their ranks. New York recently joined that growing list.

Michele Jones has been CPO in New York state for about two months. She said her appointment to the executive leadership team of the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) signals the beginning of New York’s efforts to formalize its privacy practices.

During the NASCIO panel, Texas Privacy Officer and Assistant General Counsel Jennie Hoelscher said that five states have comprehensive privacy legislation on the books. A proposed federal law, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), recently moved to the House floor, but both Hoelscher and fellow panelist Laura Gomez-Martin, Maryland CPO, are doubtful it will pass this year.

Similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which went into effect in 2018, ADPPA would limit what data companies collect from customers to what it deems reasonable. It would also supersede legislation in those five states that already have their own. Places like California, where an aggressive privacy protection law is in place, don’t think ADPPA goes far enough to restrict personal data collection.

Like Hoelscher and Gomez-Martin, New York CPO Jones thinks that a federal law would make protecting privacy easier. “It would certainly be helpful if we could have a uniform approach at the national level so that we could standardize on our process for the states,” she said.

In the meantime, however, Jones is working with her colleagues at ITS to adopt a privacy standard for the state and establish a strategic plan to keep New Yorkers’ data safe.
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including <i>Government Technology</i>, <i>Governing</i>, <i>Industry Insider, Emergency Management</i> and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.