Expert Sources

Jeff Chester stands in a suit and blue shirt in front of palm trees
Jeff Chester – Executive Director

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), a Washington, D.C. non-profit and one of the leading NGOs advocating for consumers on digital privacy and consumer protection issues. Founded in 1991, CDD (then CME) led the campaign for the enactment of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA, 1998). Since 2003, CDD has helped place digital privacy on the Federal Trade Commission’s policy agenda. Through a series of reports and formal complaints, CDD successfully engaged the Commission to begin addressing unfair and deceptive practices arising from online advertising. Recently, 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). A former investigative reporter, Jeff Chester is author of Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy. He was named “Domestic Privacy Champion” in 2011 by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. CDD is a member of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD).

Center for Digital Democracy
Twitter: @chesterj1

Headshot of Sonya Grier, sitting in front of a bookcase, smiling and wearing a black floral shirt
Sonya Grier – Associate Professor of Marketing

Sonya Grier is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Kogod School of Business, American University. Dr. Grier conducts interdisciplinary research on topics related to the societal impact of targeted marketing efforts (both commercial and social), using a diversity of methodological approaches. Her current research investigates the relationship between marketing activities and consumer health, with a focus on obesity prevention among high-risk groups. Prior to joining American University, she was a member of the first cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar program at the University of Pennsylvania. She also spent two years as an in-house consultant at the Federal Trade Commission, where she provided consumer research expertise as part of a presidential mandated team examining the target marketing of violent movies, music and video games to American youth. Dr. Grier has published her research in leading marketing, psychology and health journals. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing, with a minor in Social Psychology, from Northwestern University in 1996. Dr. Grier also has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, with an emphasis on marketing, non-profit management and international business. Her undergraduate degree is also from Northwestern University, with a major in Political Science.

Kogod School of Business, American University

Lori Dorfman – Director

Dr. Lori Dorfman is the director of Berkeley Media Studies Group, a project of the Public Health Institute, where she oversees BMSG’s research, media advocacy training, strategic consultation, and education for journalists. Her research examines media portrayals of public health issues, including children’s health, food and beverage marketing, nutrition, breastfeeding, violence, and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. She co-authored the major texts on media advocacy: Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention and News for a Change: An Advocate’s Guide to Working with the Media, teaches a course on mass communication at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, and co-chairs the Food Marketing Workgroup, a national coalition dedicated to eliminating harmful food marketing. She holds a doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley Media Studies Group
Twitter: @LoriDorfman

Woman smiling outside, wearing purple shirt
Kathryn Montgomery – Professor of Communication Studies

Kathryn Montgomery is a full-time professor of Communication Studies at American University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the Public Communication Division and in AU’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Her classes have included: Principles of Strategic Communication, Entertainment Communication, Communication Research, Media Criticism and Media Culture in the Digital Age. From 1991-2003, she was President of the nonprofit Center for Media Education. Her leadership as a policy advocate during the 1990s led to passage of the first federal legislation to protect children’s privacy on the Internet — the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Montgomery is a contributing scholar to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation initiative on Digital Media and Learning and author of Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007).

American University
Twitter: @kc_montgomery