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). During the 1980's, Jeff co-directed the campaign that led to the Congressional creation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) for public TV. He also co-founded the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, the artist advocacy group that supported federal funding for artists. Jeff 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.
CONTACT: jeff [at] democraticmedia.org
Katharina Kopp, Deputy Director of the Center for Digital Democracy and Director for Policy, has extensive experience as an advocate, scholar, policy analyst, privacy expert, coalition builder, communicator, convener, strategist and corporate leader. At CDD she leads on various initiatives to explore how Big Data practices and technologies, particularly with regard to privacy, adversely affect individuals, groups and society. The impact of these practices on equity, autonomy and agency, and the erosion of fairness and justice are of main concern to her. She is focused on how public policy solutions, grass roots efforts, and constituency building can be deployed to mitigate those risks. Central to her work is the goal to shape the public’s understanding of these impacts and to frame the remedies in terms of shared responsibilities and systemic dynamics, as opposed to relying on individual-level solutions alone, Dr. Kopp (CIPP/US, CIPP/G) worked with the Center for Media Education during the 1990’s and served as a key policy advocate during the passage and implementation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In addition to her work with the Aspen Institute, the Benton Foundation, and the Health Privacy Project, Dr. Kopp served as vice president at American Express, leading its global privacy risk management program. Most recently she was the director of the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Dr. Kopp completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in communications and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication, and graduated from the University of London, Queen Mary College.
She lives in Washington, DC and is a first generation American with native fluency in German, who has lived in Germany, France and the UK.
CONTACT: kkopp [at] democraticmedia.org
Kathryn Montgomery, PhD.,
Kathryn Montgomery, PhD. is Research Director and Senior Strategist for the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD). In the early 90s, she and Jeff Chester co-founded the Center for Media Education (CME), where she served as President until 2003, and which was the predecessor organization to CDD. CME spearheaded the national campaign that led to passage of the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) the first federal legislation to protect children's privacy on the Internet. From 2003 until 2018, Dr. Montgomery was Professor of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C., where she founded and directed the 3-year interdisciplinary PhD program in Communication. She has served as a consultant to CDD for a number of years and joined the full-time staff in July 2018.
Throughout her career, Dr. Montgomery has written and published extensively about the role of media in society, addressing a variety of topics, including: the politics of entertainment television; youth engagement with digital media; and contemporary advertising and marketing practices. Montgomery's research, writing, and testimony have helped frame the national public policy debate on a range of critical media issues. In addition to numerous journal articles, chapters, and reports, she is author of two books: Target: Prime Time – Advocacy Groups and the Struggle over Entertainment Television (Oxford University Press, 1989); and Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007). Montgomery’s current research focuses on the major technology, economic, and policy trends shaping the future of digital media in the Big Data era. She earned her doctorate in Film and Television from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Website Developer: Jeremy Isett
Website Designer: J. Sean Walker