On Jan. 6 at the Governor's Summit on Cybersecurity and Privacy, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced two new programs to strengthen cybersecurity and privacy in the state. Washington will partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to strengthen critical infrastructure and government services, and through the governor's executive order, the state will also create a new state Office of Privacy and Data Protection.

“We are the world’s center for digital commerce. We know that in this digital era, good cybersecurity is essential to the continuity of global commerce and to a thriving economy,” Inslee said. “We’re excited that Washington’s work in this area is being recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. They’ve chosen our state for an innovative pilot program that will further strengthen our efforts to defend our critical infrastructure.”

DHS and the state Office of Cyber Security will establish an advisory board to guide the development of a "playbook" of strategies to defend the state's critical infrastructure.

The new Office of Privacy and Data Protection will be led by Alex Alben, who was hired last April as the state's first chief privacy officer. The office will train state agencies on best privacy practices, and serve residents through consumer outreach and education programs. The office will also be responsible for the administration of annual reviews of the state's privacy policies and practices.

“Creation of this office affirms the state’s commitment to protecting digital privacy," Alben said, "and will help state agencies better keep pace with the evolution of technology."