Nicole Wong

The White House gave hope to critics of US government surveillance when it nominated a privacy-minded Deputy CTO last year, but it appears that those privacy reform efforts just hit a snag. Nicole Wong has left the position after a little over a year. Neither Wong nor the Office of Science and Technology Policy have explained the departure, although the former official will be returning to her family in California. We've reached out for more details, including the prospects for a replacement.

While her stay was brief, it may have had a lasting impact on the US approach to privacy. Wong was one of the key authors behind the Obama administration's giant privacy review, which advocated for both a privacy bill of rights, sweeping legal reforms and policies that would give more protections to foreigners. She also implemented at least some other policies during her stint. Wong's exit hasn't necessarily derailed any long-term plans to protect your data from prying eyes, but there's no certainty that a successor will carry the torch for her ideas.