February 22nd, 2021 · 8 minute read

Stop Looking Now - Top 10 Data Protection Influencers to Follow Now

Updated: February 22nd, 2021

Data Protection Influencers

The Top 10 Influencers on Data Protection

Data privacy, data security and data protection have become a hot issue for everyone – private citizens, online businesses, governments, and any organization with an online presence.

As data proliferates, the need for data privacy protection will continue to grow. Data breaches are expected to feature prominently in the legal industry this year. Here we list some of the prominent players in the field of data protection.


Mark Weinstein

Mark Weinstein is founder and CEO of MeWe a next-generation social network and alternative to Facebook where your private life stays private.

Mark was previously founder and CEO of Sgrouples, Inc., the parent company that owns MeWe and MeWePRO.

He holds an MBA in Strategic Market Management, Organizational Excellence from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Mark is world-renowned as a leading privacy advocate and one of the original inventors of social networking. He is ranked as one of the "Top 8 Minds in Online Privacy," and was named “Privacy by Design Ambassador” by The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada.

By protecting privacy, Mark has transformed the landscape of social networks.


Julie Brill

Julie Brill is Chief Privacy Officer, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft Brill had a distinguished career as a public officer. She served as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission for six years, earning countless accolades for her work on internet privacy and data protection. At the time, she was recognized as ‘’one of the top minds in online security’’.

Previously, Brill served as an Assistant Attorney General for Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the State of Vermont for over 20 years. During that time, she received the 2014 Privacy Leadership Award from the International Association of Privacy Professionals in recognition of her commitment to protect consumer privacy.

Brill blogs for Microsoft and her Twitter account has 9,196 followers.


Jules Polonetsky

Jules Polonetsky is a lawyer, internet privacy expert, and CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum. He has held the position since 2008. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy, and also serves as Co-Chairman of the Israel Tech Policy Institute.

Polonetsky’s interest in privacy protection goes back a long way when he was the Chief Privacy Officer for DoubleClick from 2000 to 2002 and after that for AOL from 2002 - 2008.

The Future of Privacy Forum is a think tank and advocacy group focused on issues of data privacy. The forum is supported by more than 180 leading companies and foundations, as well as an advisory board comprised of America’s leading privacy academics and advocates.

Polonetsky has served on the boards of several privacy and consumer protection organizations. He is a regular speaker at privacy and technology events and has 18.6K followers on Twitter.


Omer Tene

Omer Tene is Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) where he leads the creation of content as well as sharing relevant news, articles, research, and knowledge about privacy protection.

He is Senior Fellow at The Future of Privacy Forum where he leads research and writes white papers and academic articles. He is Professor at the College of Management School of Law, Rishon Le Zion, Israel, and a legal consultant admitted to practice in Israel and New York.

He provides legal and strategic consulting to governments, large multinationals with businesses in Israel, Israeli industry leaders, and technology startups launching businesses in the US and EU.

He is a graduate of the JSD and LL.M. programs at NYU School of Law and received an MBA degree from INSEAD as well as LL.M. and LL.B. degrees from Tel Aviv University.

He publishes on data privacy and data protection in English, Hebrew, and French.


Lea Kissner

Lea Kissnser is a computer scientist and electrical engineer with a stellar record in privacy. She is currently Director of Engineering at Apple. Previously she was Security and Privacy consultant for Zoom and Chief Privacy Officer for Humu. She worked for twelve years as Principal Engineer at Google before she became Google’s Global Lead of Privacy Technology.

In her various leading roles, her teams worked on projects like logs anonymization, infrastructure security, privacy infrastructure, and privacy engineering. At Google, she was the leader of the NightWatch team. This was a 95-person team that reviewed most of Google’s products for potential privacy flaws.

Kissner and Prof. Lorrie Cranor of Carnegie Mellon founded the first conference for privacy engineering in practice. Kissner is a member of the IAPP Privacy Engineering Section, Program Co-Chair of the USENIX Enigma 2021 Conference, and an organizer of the OURSA conference.

Kissner has 11.2K followers on Twitter.


Ann Cavoukian

Dr. Ann Cavoukian is one of the world’s leading privacy experts. Dr. Cavoukian served three terms as the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada. At that time she created the concept of Privacy by Design, which now is a core part of the GDPR.

After her three terms as commissioner, she served as the Distinguished Expert-in-Residence, leading the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University.

She founded Global Privacy & Security by Design Centre in 2019 and currently serves as its Executive Director.

She has received numerous awards, notably as one of Top 10 Women in Data Security and Privacy, and Top 25 Women of Influence. She also received the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor- General of Canada for her work on creating Privacy by Design.

Dr. Cavoukian has 12.6K followers on Twitter.


Sandra Wachter

Professor Sandra Wachter is a lawyer and Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow in Data Ethics, AI, robotics, and Internet Regulation/cyber-security at the Oxford Internet Institute.

She specializes in technology, IP, and data protection, and non-discrimination law, as well as European, International, and online human rights, and medical law.

Professor Wachter is a Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London, a Fellow of the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council on Values, Ethics and Innovation among other professional institutions.

Professor Wachter serves as a policy advisor for governments, companies, and NGOs around the world on regulatory and ethical questions concerning emerging technologies. Top-tier media outlets regularly feature her work.

She has won numerous awards for her work, most recently she was included in the Women in AI Ethics Hall of Fame.

Professor Wachter has 12.6K followers on Twitter where she tweets in German and English.


Jedidiah Bracy

Jedidiah (Jed) Bracy is Editorial Director at the IAPP. He has a long history of writing about privacy. He started working at IAPP in 2010 and first started writing for the IAPP in 2011.

Before he became Editorial Director, Jed wrote about data privacy and ongoing developments in data security and privacy.

In his current capacity, he oversees the IAPP’s large suite of editorial and news content.


Wayne Cleghorn

Wayne Cleghorn is a British commercial, information technology and data protection lawyer with more than 17 years of experience helping businesses and organizations with the commercial contracts, corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and dispute resolution aspects of new technologies and data.

Cleghorn has served as Data Protection Officer and Chief Privacy Counsel for several organizations. He is an expert in data protection, with in-depth knowledge and experience of UK, EU, US, and global data protection laws.

He provided the British government with advice regarding the data protection impacts of Brexit. He also did Data Protection Impact Assessments on a range of new and emerging technologies, and has advised on the technology and data impacts of Coronavirus Covid-19.


Sheila FitzPatrick

Sheila FitzPatrick is a worldwide expert in data privacy and sovereignty laws as well as the GDPR. She built her experience over38 years across 160 countries.

FitzPatrick started her own company, FitzPatrick & Associates 25 years ago. Prior to that, she was employed in executive and senior levels positions at Oracle, Price Waterhouse, General Electric, and General Dynamics.

She acts as consultant Chief Privacy Officer for multi-nationals across all industries, including the technology sector. She helps these enterprises with their worldwide data privacy compliance programs, including compliance with the GDPR.

She is a regular speaker at global conferences focused on data privacy, cybersecurity, and cloud computing.


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