Last year, we announced our top 8 data privacy influencers of 2019, who we believed anyone in the industry should be aware of to stay informed and updated with the latest thinking around privacy.

The initiative was a great success and it remains one of our most popular blogs. And as data privacy continues to be one of the most powerful and change-triggering conversations in the business world, especially as new laws and protections come into effect alongside new ways of working, we thought we should bring you a new list of the data privacy influencers who have already stamped their mark on 2020.

Calligo’s Top Data Privacy Influencers in 2020


Max Schrems

Max Schrems is a lawyer, privacy activist, and chairman and founder of noyb, a “privacy enforcement platform” that brings data protection cases to the courts under the GDPR. Max is best known for his landmark lawsuits against major tech companies such as Facebook, colloquially referenced as “Schrems I” and “Schrems II”, which resulted in two EU-US data-sharing agreements (Safe Habor and Privacy Shield) being invalidated.

See our recent blog for guidance on how to navigate the impact of Schrems II

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Julie Brill

Julie Brill joined Microsoft in 2017 as their Chief Privacy Officer and also acts as their Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Global Privacy and Regulatory Affairs. Julie is recognized as a world leader in data privacy, data protection as well as cybersecurity law and policy. She was previously appointed Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission by then-President Barrack Obama, and was named as “the Commission’s most important voice on Internet privacy and data security issues”.

Julie has received many national awards for her work, including the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Leader of the Year Award and frequently keeps her followers updated with the latest privacy news and updates from across the world.


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Alastair McTaggarie

Alastair MacTaggart was the driving force behind California’s data protection law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into effect on the 1st January 2020.

He created and led the 2016-2018 ballot to prevent companies from selling and making a profit on consumer data, often without the permission or knowledge of the data subject. Alastair has led the fourth ballot, called the “The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)”, which aims to significantly amend the CCPA to add and strengthen the protection of California residents’ personal data and privacy rights. Alastair is also the board chair and founder of the Californians for Consumer Privacy.


Dominique Shelton Leipzig

Dominique Shelton Leipzig is a partner at Perkins Coie LLP’s Privacy and Security Group and is the co-chair for the firms’ Ad Tech Privacy & Data Management practice. In 2019, Dominique, a leading advocate for data ethics and was appointed as one of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

She has also been named in the Top 30 Incident Response list for data breach attorneys in 2019 and 2020 and represented the California Chamber of Commerce in a six-week-long negotiation with Alastair MacTaggart (above) and a team regarding the CCPA. Following that, she wrote a book on CCPA to help guide global businesses through the California’s data protection law.


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David Caroll

David Carroll is an associate professor of media design at Parsons School of Design. He is known for filing a legal complaint and challenging Cambridge Analytica and related companies in the UK to gain access to his data.

In 2020, Netflix released an original documentary, “The Great Hack” which illustrates the Cambridge Analytica scandal and David’s journey to his data, something he still has not received. David is an advocate of data privacy and is vocal over the fact the US is lagging behind in adequate privacy laws and protections, and on data subjects’ right to have a say in what happens to their data.



Kashmir Hill

Kashmir Hill is a technology journalist who joined The New York Times, often writing about how technology and data is changing our lives, and how it affects our privacy. Kashmir has also written for Fusion, Forbes Magazine and her articles have appeared in The New Yorker and Washington Post.

In 2018, Kashmir held a TED talk, “What your smart devices know (and share) about you”, about her findings on how her devices and smart appliances captured and shared her data.


Johnny Ryan

Dr Johnny Ryan a Senior Fellow at the Open Markets Institute and Irish Council for Civil Liberties. Dr Ryan was previously the Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer at Brave, the private web browser. Dr Ryan led Brave’s campaign for GDPR enforcement, and his regulatory interventions have made the front page of The Financial Times, and his commentary regularly appears in media such as The New York Times, The Economist and Wired.

He has also written a book “A History of the Internet and the Digital Future”. Dr Ryan is a regular speaker at industry events and has testified at the United States Senate and the European Commission.


Joules Polonetsky

Jules Polonetsky is a major advocate of data privacy and data ethics. He is the CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that brings together industry, academics, consumers and thought leaders to explore the challenges posed by technology and innovation, develop privacy protections and workable business practices.

Jules has served on the boards of several privacy and consumer protection organizations including TRUSTe, IAPP and the Network Advertising Initiative. From 2011-2012, Jules served on the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee.


If you have any recommendations for who we should include, then please let us know.