Mary Ellen Callahan is a nationally recognized privacy attorney, withan extensive background in consumer protection law. As the longest-serving formerChief Privacy Officer of the United States Department of Homeland Security –the first statutorily mandated privacy office in any federal agency – Ms.Callahan has a unique and broad knowledge of and experience with the interfaceof the protection of privacy, civil rights and civil liberties with cybersecurityand national security issues. During her tenure at the Department of HomelandSecurity, Ms. Callahan also served as Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)Officer, responsible for centralizing both FOIA and Privacy Act operations toprovide policy and programmatic oversight and support implementation across theDepartment.
Ms. Callahan is the founder and Chair of Jenner & Block’s Privacyand Information Governance Practice. Ms. Callahan has been recognized by Chambers USA with a “Band One” Nationwideranking, Chambers’ highest ranking,in privacy and data security and by Legal500 as a “Leading Lawyer” in technology: data protection and privacy. In2011, she received the select Federal 100 Award, which recognizes individualsin government and industry who have played pivotal roles in the federalgovernment information systems community. Ms. Callahan’s work on integratingcybersecurity, transparency and privacy at the Department of Homeland Securitywas cited as the reason for her Federal 100 recognition.
She is a prolificwriter and speaker on privacy issues, including having testified beforeCongressional Committees numerous times in her capacity as Department ofHomeland Security Chief Privacy/Chief FOIA Officer. Ms. Callahan has served asVice-Chair of the American Bar Association's Privacy and Information SecurityCommittee of the Antitrust Division; Co-chair of the Privacy Committee of theCIO Council, the principal interagency forum for improving agency practicesrelated to the design, acquisition, development, modernization, use, sharing,and performance of Federal information resources; and Co-chair of the Privacyand Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the Information Sharing and AccessInteragency Policy Committee.
She received her law degree from the University ofChicago Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University ofPittsburgh.