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Cameron Kerry joins MIT Media Lab as visiting scholar

Former Commerce Department official will work on privacy issues and ‘Big Data for Public Good’ initiative.
Cameron F. Kerry
Cameron F. Kerry
photo: U.S. Department of Commerce

Cameron F. Kerry, former acting secretary and general counsel of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has joined the MIT Media Lab as a visiting scholar. He will be working with Professor Alex (Sandy) Pentland and the Media Lab’s Human Dynamics research group on issues related to privacy and personal data ownership and on Pentland’s Big Data for Public Good research initiative.

“We are so pleased that Cam will be working closely with the Media Lab to better understand and create solutions around critical issues of Internet privacy and big data,” Pentland says. “He brings to the Lab the experience of the U.S.’s chief international negotiator for privacy and data regulation as well as other issues of technology policy, and will be instrumental in bringing together key players, including governments, multilateral organizations, and multinational corporations.”

“I look forward to working with Media Lab researchers and their colleagues across the MIT campus,” Kerry says. “MIT and the Media Lab have been such vital drivers of innovation for the economy in Massachusetts and around the globe. I especially welcome the opportunity to work with some of the most creative thinkers in addressing the critical role that technology can — and must — play in ensuring individual privacy as we explore how information can help meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Kerry also recently joined the Brookings Institution in Washington as the Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies.

He and his brother, Secretary of State John Kerry, were the first siblings to serve together in the Cabinet of a U.S. president. As general counsel at the Department of Commerce, Kerry served as the agency’s chief legal officer and oversaw the work of close to 400 lawyers. He acted as the U.S.’s chief international negotiator for privacy and data regulation, and also as the Commerce Department’s chief ethics officer. He co-chaired the commerce secretary’s Internet Policy Task Force and the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Commercial Data Privacy, which resulted in the administration’s privacy guidelines. He also worked on patent reform and intellectual property, privacy and security, global trade, transnational bribery, and Internet governance questions.

Kerry received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and his J.D. degree from Boston College. He was a partner in the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin before entering government service, and was a senior advisor for the 2004 Democratic presidential campaign.

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