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Katy Ruckle

Chief Privacy Officer, Washington

Katy Ruckle, Washington Chief Privacy Officer
Government Technology/David Kidd
Since accepting the position of chief privacy officer for Washington state in January 2020, Katy Ruckle has helped stand up a landmark model of what a privacy officer’s role should be by helping to mature what were at the time early privacy discussions.

“When I started this position, I was the only person in my office and didn’t have a budget or a staff,” Ruckle said. “So my initial objectives were getting resources to move the state forward in terms of its privacy maturity.”

Fast-forward to the present day, and Ruckle has implemented new trainings, developed internal and external government collaborations, and established privacy rules to prepare Washington for the challenges and opportunities presented by evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence.

One of Ruckle’s first accomplishments was the establishment of Washington’s privacy principles, which she said include “lawful, fair and responsible use; data minimization, purpose, limitation, security; and due diligence in terms of how data is being shared with third parties and other entities.”

Subsequently, she created a specialized training program centered around these privacy principles for state employees. Under Ruckle’s leadership, Washington Technology Solutions leveraged state and local cybersecurity grant programs to help agencies upskill their workforce using privacy certification training through the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Ruckle also helped government agencies statewide create strategies to harness the connection between security and privacy by establishing a privacy threshold analysis and privacy impact assessment process.

Looking ahead, Ruckle envisions a continued focus on responsible data usage, especially in the context of AI. Her goals include the formation of AI guidelines centered on privacy, an AI accountability framework, and risk assessments to navigate the intersection of privacy and AI.

“Our objective is to ensure the state continues to use personally identifiable information responsibly while embracing technological advancements,” she said.

As technologies like AI evolve, Ruckle plans to take an integrated and collaborative approach through partnerships with industries and higher education, along with community input, to help address potential risks while reaping the benefits of new tech in the future.

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.
Ashley Silver is a staff writer for Government Technology. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Montevallo and a graduate degree in public relations from Kent State University. Silver is also a published author with a wide range of experience in editing, communications and public relations.