19 March 2021

An Agency Is Born: California Appoints Board of Its New California Privacy Protection Agency

On March 17, 2021, California officials announced the appointment of five board members of the California Privacy Protection Agency ( the “CPPA”), the first data protection agency in the United States.  The CPPA, created by the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) which California voters approved in November 2020, is charged with promulgating the CPRA regulations; enforcing the CCPA and CPRA; and educating consumers about their privacy rights.

Board appointees were drawn from academia, government, and public service:

  • Jennifer M. Urban (Chair), Director of University of California, Berkeley’s Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic.
  • John Christopher Thompson, a Senior Vice President of Government Relations for LA Olympics 2028 who also served for four years as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Chief of Staff.
  • Angela Sierra, a career prosecutor for the California Department of Justice for 33 years, who most recently served as Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Public Rights Division.
  • Lydia de la Torre, a professor at Santa Clara University Law who also recently served as of-counsel to Squire Patton Boggs.
  • Vinhcent Le, a Technology Equity attorney at the Greenlining Institute, whose work focuses on consumer privacy, closing the digital divide, and preventing algorithmic bias.

In accordance with the CRPA, two Board members were appointed by Governor Newsom, while  California’s Attorney General, the California Senate Rules Committee, and the California Speaker of the Assembly each appointed one member.  The Board members serve at the pleasure of their appointing authority and have an eight-year term limit.

The Board’s first task will be to hire an executive director who will be charged with staffing the Agency, which will receive a minimum of $10 million in annual funding.  Agency staff will need to be ready to act quickly, with CPRA rulemaking scheduled to begin this summer.  As the Agency gets up and running, staff at the Attorney General’s office will be providing support.

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