SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) today announced the establishment of the five-member inaugural board for the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), a new administrative agency charged with protecting the fundamental privacy rights of consumers over their personal information. The CPPA Board consists of experts in privacy, technology, and consumer rights.
“Californians deserve to have their data protected and the individuals appointed today will bring their expertise in technology, privacy and consumer rights to advance that goal,” said Governor Newsom. “These appointees represent a new day in online consumer protection and business accountability.”
“The California Privacy Protection Agency marks a historic new chapter in data privacy by establishing the first agency in the country dedicated to protecting forty million Californians’ fundamental privacy rights,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The CPPA Board will help California residents understand and control their data privacy while holding online businesses accountable.”
“The California Privacy Protection Agency Board is part of California’s commitment to the toughest privacy protection laws in the nation,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “The pandemic put us online more than ever—this Board will help protect the most private information of individuals and families for the world we live in now and in the future. I am confident that our Senate Rules nominee, Lydia de la Torre, will bring the kind of expertise the Board will need to take those protections to the next level.”
“In an era of massive data mining, the establishment of this body moves us in the direction of protecting people’s digital identities and consumer rights regarding their personal information,” said Speaker Rendon. “Special attention needs to be paid to assisting immigrants and non-English proficient Californians to have the same rights as everyone. I am eager to have this board and its capable members go to work.”
In 2018, California became the first state in the U.S. to equip consumers with new privacy tools and new privacy rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act. On November 3, 2020, California voters approved Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which created the California Privacy Protection Agency. Enforcement of the CPRA will begin in 2023.
The California Privacy Protection Agency will have full administrative power, authority, and jurisdiction to implement and enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act and the California Privacy Rights Act. The Board will appoint the Agency’s executive director, officers, counsel and employees. The Agency may bring enforcement actions related to the CCPA or CPRA before an administrative law judge. The Attorney General will retain civil enforcement authority over the CCPA and the CPRA.
California Privacy Protection Agency Board Members:
Jennifer M. Urban, 47, of Kensington, has been appointed Chair of the California Privacy Protection Agency Board by Governor Newsom. Urban has been a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Policy Initiatives for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law since 2009, where she has held multiple positions since 2002, including Fellow, Lecturer, and Visiting Acting Clinical Professor of Law. She was a Clinical Professor of Law and the founding Director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law from 2004 to 2009. Urban was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Interim Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School from 2007 to 2008. She was an Attorney in the IP Group at Venture Law Group from 2000 to 2001. Urban is a member of the American Association of Law Schools, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Takedown Research Network, American Civil Liberties Union, and Authors Alliance. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Urban is registered without party preference.
John Christopher Thompson, 49, of Pasadena, has been appointed to the California Privacy Protection Agency Board by Governor Newsom. Thompson has been Senior Vice President of Government Relations at LA 2028 since 2020. He held multiple positions at Southern California Edison from 2013 to 2020, including Vice President of Local Public Affairs and Vice President of Decommissioning. Thompson held multiple positions in the United States Senate from 2003 to 2013, including Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and Legislative Assistant. He was a Legislative Assistant at the United States House of Representatives from 1996 to 2001. Thompson is a member of the California Science Center Foundation, Public Media Group of Southern California, and Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Thompson is a Democrat.
Angela Sierra is the designee of Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Sierra recently served as Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Public Rights Division, overseeing the work of the Division’s over 400 employees in areas related to safeguarding civil rights, protecting consumers against misleading advertising claims, fraudulent business practices and privacy violations, maintaining competitive markets, protecting consumers’ health care rights, preserving charitable assets and safeguarding the State’s natural resources and environment. As the Chief of the Public Rights Division, Sierra oversaw the Consumer Protection Section’s Privacy Unit, including the Unit’s multi-state data-breach settlement with Equifax in 2019 that resolved allegations that the credit reporting agency improperly exposed the personal information of 147 million consumers, including 15 million Californians. During her 33-year career at the Department of Justice, Sierra worked on a broad range of issues, including, police practices, voting rights, housing and employment discrimination, immigrant rights, civil prosecution of hate crimes, discriminatory business practices, disability access, reproductive rights, environmental justice, Native American cultural protection, and access to education. Sierra is also a seasoned litigator and appellate advocate with administrative law and rulemaking experience and throughout her career has worked closely with a wide array of state agencies.
Lydia de la Torre is the President Pro Tem’s nominee to the CPPA Board. Since 2017, de la Torre has been a professor at Santa Clara University Law School, where she has taught privacy law and co-directed the Santa Clara Law Privacy Certificate Program, a cutting-edge program that enables students to graduate ready to practice privacy law. She also has served as of-counsel to Squire Patton Boggs, where she specialized in privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. She is leaving the law firm to take on this appointment, and during a short transition out of the firm, she will not be participating in any firm meetings or business related to the CPRA. Lydia de la Torre is an international expert in data protection issues generally and in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in particular. Her expertise will bring a unique knowledge to the CPPA Board and to California in its examination of these international issues at the state level.
Vinhcent Le is the designee of Speaker Anthony Rendon. Le currently serves as a Technology Equity attorney at the Greenlining Institute, focusing on consumer privacy, closing the digital divide, and preventing algorithmic bias. Le’s work has helped secure funding to increase broadband access, improve and modernize the California Lifeline Program, and create a program to provide laptops to low-income students in California. Prior to his current position, he served as a law clerk in the Orange County Public Defenders Office, the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals, and the Small Business Administration. Le received a J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.