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Jeff Chester is Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), a Washington, DC nonprofit. CDD is one of the leading NGOs advocating for consumers on digital privacy and consumer protection issues. Founded in 1991, CDD (then known as the Center for Media Education) led the campaign for the enactment of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA, 1998). During the 1990’s it also played a prominent role in such issues as open access/network neutrality, diversity of media ownership, and the development of the FCC’s “E-Rate” funding to ensure that schools and libraries had the resources to offer Internet services.
Since 2003, CDD has helped place digital privacy on the Federal Trade Commission’s policy agenda. Through a series of reports and formal complaints endorsed by many consumer groups on such topics as online behavioral advertising (OBA), mobile marketing, social media, and other digital marketing practices, CDD successfully engaged the commission to begin addressing unfair and deceptive practices arising from online advertising. Recently, CDD’s two-year investigation into the little-known use of so-called “e-Scores,” which are used to covertly evaluate the financial worthiness of consumers online, led to a major 2012 New York Times story and work on this issue at the FTC. CDD’s two-and-a-half-year effort to strengthen COPPA’s privacy protections for children under 13 resulted in a groundbreaking decision by the FTC in December 2012, in which the commission ruled—for the first time—that “cookies,” geo-location data, and other “persistent identifiers” are to be considered “personally identifiable information” (in the context of online services targeting children). By providing an array of information and analysis to such news outlets as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, NPR, and New York Times, CDD also spurred press coverage of digital privacy and its impact on consumer finances and health.
A former investigative reporter, Jeff Chester is the author of Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy (The New Press, 2007). He was named “Domestic Privacy Champion” in 2011 by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. CDD is a member of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD). Jeff is the current U.S. co-chair of TACD's Information Society (Infosoc) group.
Joy Spencer is currently Associate Director at the Center for Digital Democracy. Ms. Spencer is a committed consumer advocate with a background in community engagement around issues that affect the health of the poor and communities of color, both internationally and domestically. Most recently her work with the Institute for Social Analysis and the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association has centered on HIV prevention education, research and community engagement that addresses the structural determinants of health. Ms. Spencer previously worked with Knowledge Ecology International in Washington DC on projects related to intellectual property and consumer access to medicines and other knowledge goods. Ms. Spencer's commitment to access to quality health outcomes continues with her work at the Center for Digital Democracy, highlighting the impact of targeted digital food marketing on the privacy rights and nutritional food choices of youth.
Ms. Spencer studied Economics at the College of William and Mary and received a Masters in International Educational Development at Columbia University's Teachers College.
Hudson Kingston is the Legal Director for the Center for Digital Democracy. His focus is on CDD’s ongoing mission of protecting children’s online privacy using COPPA and other law. With a background in human rights and environmental law, Mr. Kingston is addressing the intersection of these fields and civil liberties in a digital age. Prior to working at CDD, he worked on the consumer protection fight against industrial agriculture at the Center for Food Safety, and learned about national environmental policy in a stint at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Kingston earned a J.D. from the University of Iowa and LL.M. degrees from both New York University and the National University of Singapore. He has worked on legal projects in Laos and India and is interested in how trade will bring developed-world consumer and environmental issues to other countries in the guise of development. His commitment to protecting people’s online privacy, civil rights, and public health makes him an integral part of the team.