On March 17, 2021, California officials announced their appointees to the five-member inaugural board of the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA). Approved by voters in the November 2020 election cycle, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) called for the creation of the CPPA, an administrative agency tasked with the enforcement of the CPRA and the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Below is an overview of the CPPA Board and the appointees who will be leading the agency.
The CPPA Board: Section 24 of the CPRA (Cal. Civ. Code 1798.199.10) provides that the CPPA will be governed by a five-member board. The governor is charged with appointing the chairperson and one additional member to the Board. The Attorney General, the Senate Rules Committee, and the Speaker of the Assembly appoint one board member each.
Jennifer M. Urban is Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointee for Chair of the CPPA. Urban is currently the Director of Policy Initiatives for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley School of Law and served as a Clinical Assistant Professor at that clinic from 2009 to 2019. Prior to her work at Berkeley Law, she served as the Director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law and served as the Interim Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School. Her areas of expertise include privacy, content moderation, copyright issues and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and patent licensing.
John Christopher Thompson is Governor Newsom’s second appointee to the CPPA Board. Since 2020, Thompson has been the Senior Vice President of Government Relations at LA 2028 since 2020, working with city, state, and federal lawmakers on policies relating to the 2028 Olympic Games. He previously led community and government relations at Southern California Edison. He has also held positions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, most notably serving as chief of staff for Senator Dianne Feinstein. He currently serves on the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, as well as on the boards for the California Science Center Foundation and the Public Media Group of Southern California.
Angela Sierra is Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s designee to the CPPA Board. Sierra is a seasoned litigator at both the trial and appellate levels, with a career at the California Department of Justice spanning 33 years. She previously served as Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Public Rights Division and spent 17 years in the Department’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section. As Chief, she oversaw the Consumer Protection Section’s Privacy Unit in its 2019 multistate data-breach settlement with Equifax, when the credit reporting agency was alleged to have improperly exposed the personal information of 147 million consumers, including 15 million Californians. Other notable work includes her involvement in a $168 million-dollar settlement in 2019 with a for-profit online charter school operator alleged to have misled parents and the government about student success to gain taxpayer funds.
Lydia de la Torre, currently a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, is the President Pro Tem’s nominee to the CPPA Board. She has co-directed the law school’s Privacy Law Certificate program and taught courses in privacy law. In her of-counsel position at Squire Patton Boggs, which she will be leaving, de la Torre’s practice has focused on privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. She has written extensively about the CCPA and has particular expertise in international data protection issues, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Vinhcent Le, a Technology Equity attorney at The Greenlining Institute, is the designee of the Speaker of the Assembly. Le began at The Greenlining Institute as a Fellow in 2016. His work at the Institute focuses on consumer privacy, issues around algorithmic bias, and closing the digital divide. Le’s prior experience includes positions with the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, and the Small Business Association.