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Mayor de Blasio Appoints Laura Negrón As Chief Privacy Officer

April 3, 2018

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Laura Negrón as New York City’s first Chief Privacy Officer, a position created to enhance and coordinate responsible citywide data-sharing practices and continue to improve how the City uses data to inform responsible, equitable policies. The newly created role positions New York City as a leader in information privacy protection policy. The Chief Privacy Officer will work across City agencies and offices to promote new citywide protocols relating to the collection, disclosure, and retention of individually identifiable information; provide guidance to agencies; and streamline the new policies and procedures within a centralized office.

“New York City is taking comprehensive measures to protect the privacy of their personal information, and appointing a Chief Privacy Officer secures our commitment to New Yorkers and their privacy,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With decades of experience and a fierce passion for privacy law, Laura’s a perfect fit to spearhead our privacy efforts and ensure we’re always making smart data-driven decisions aimed at improving the lives of New Yorkers.”

“I’m thrilled that Laura is being called upon to oversee a centralized effort to secure data in New York City,” said Emily W. Newman, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations. “Laura has forged new paths in citywide data privacy strategy, finding ways to safely leverage data to offer more services to more New Yorkers, and leads the implementation of the City’s internal privacy protocols. No one is more prepared to guide the City’s data privacy strategy – New Yorkers are in good hands.”

“I am honored to be named the City’s first Chief Privacy Officer,” said Laura Negrón, Chief Privacy Officer for the City of New York. “Thank you to the Mayor for giving me the opportunity to lead the City’s efforts to protect New Yorkers’ private information and to continue to promote equity through data sharing.”

Negrón, whose nearly 40-year career in public service leadership has spanned the nonprofit and government sectors, is well-positioned to fill the role. As General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for the Mayor’s Office of Operations, Negrón created NYC’s Citywide Data Integration legal framework, which established a citywide governance structure and the data security protocols required when agencies exchange data to achieve key multiagency initiatives to benefit New Yorkers.  This framework has opened the door to leveraging creative solutions to sharing data safely while implementing important programs for New Yorkers, such as Pre-K and 3-K Enrollment Outreach and Workforce Common Metrics initiatives.

Prior to leading the legal and privacy team at Operations, Negrón served as Executive Agency Counsel for HHS Connect, a program that provides IT tools and solutions to help Health and Human Services agencies coordinate interagency case management. Previously, she was director of the Guardianship Project, a demonstration program at the Vera Institute of Justice that appoints legal, social, and other support services to individuals with disabilities and elderly people in New York City. She has also served as a Deputy County Attorney at the Legal Counsel and Affirmative Litigation Bureaus of the Nassau County Attorney’s Office, and as Dean of Institutional Advancement for Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. With Negrón at the helm, the CPO’s office will work not only to keep data secure, but also to maximize data sharing where permitted by law to encourage equitable and innovative policies throughout the City.

The CPO role was codified in Local Laws 245 and 247 of 2017, which give the CPO the power and duty to create policies and protocols on information sharing throughout the city government. The CPO will require that identifiable information be anonymized when necessary, and will require the privacy officer of each agency to issue guidance on the Law’s requirements to its employees and certain of its contractors, and subcontractors. Negrón will continue to report directly to Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations Emily W. Newman. The size of the expanding privacy team is yet to be determined.

Currently, there are many ways in which New York City’s agencies receive and share data. Examples of other projects that required cross-agency coordination include HOME-STAT, a program to address street homelessness, and Get Covered NYC, which aimed to help more New Yorkers sign up for and receive health insurance benefits. Due to data-focused efforts and outreach, nearly 80,000 New Yorkers were enrolled in new health insurance plans between February 2017 and January 2018, exceeding the City’s initial goal of 50,000. The CPO’s office will build up on existing frameworks to continue improving data privacy and efficiency within the City.

“As our lives become increasingly digital, privacy and data protection are a core value for our City. It is our responsibility as information technology leaders to continuously improve our methods of protecting data privacy as we evaluate new technologies,” said Samir Saini, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “Respect for privacy and civil liberties is our priority and I have no doubt that Laura will continue this commitment as our dedicated privacy advocate.”

“Protecting citizens data while also strengthening transparency and open government has always been a priority in this administration,” said Geoff Brown, Citywide Chief Information Security Officer and head of NYC Cyber Command. “I look forward to working with Laura to ensure that all information sharing programs across City agencies and offices are being implemented safely, securely, and with privacy in mind.”

“As the exchange of information between governments and the public becomes more open and transparent, it is important that the city can guarantee privacy protections regarding personal information. We wish NYC’s first Chief Privacy Officer, Laura Negron, great success in her pursuit of safeguarding the privacy and security of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Koo, Chair of the Committee on Technology.

"Achieving gender parity in all industries and aspects of City government requires a proactive initiative to place more women at the leadership table," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, co-chair of the NYC Council Women's Caucus. "Ms. Negron brings to her new role a robust track record of achievements at the intersections of tech and City government, and I look forward to see the groundbreaking work that Ms. Negron will accomplish to maximize data sharing and efficiency among City agencies as our City's Chief Privacy Officer. Thank you to Mayor De Blasio for your vision to make our democracy more responsive and accessible to constituents through tech and data, and for your continued commitment to elevate the voices and leadership of women."

"For years, it has become increasingly clear that the personal data of citizens needs to be emphatically and unequivocally protected. Last year, I was glad to work with Speaker Mark-Viverito and my colleagues on the Council to pass legislation creating privacy officers within each agency to review and approve the collection, disclosure, and retention of identifying information," said Council Member Jumaane D Williams. “The position of a central Chief Privacy Officer, created in the Speaker’s bill, is essential to coordinate with each city agency, ensuring that information is not unnecessarily collected or improperly shared. Ms. Negron’s background makes her an excellent choice to fill this role, and I thank her for taking up the responsibility of providing a safeguard against New Yorker's private data being accessed and utilized to unjust ends, vital protections in this digital age.”

"New York City is making tangible progress when it comes to data privacy, protecting our valuable assets online wherever we can," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "By creating the position of Chief Privacy Officer we are ensuring our City is ahead of the curve and keeping up with the needs of a new digital world all while looking out for potential threats before they materialize. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for having the foresight to create this new position and thank you to the new Chief Privacy Officer Laura Negron for taking this challenge on." 

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