New America's Open Technology Institute Announces Leadership Change

Kevin Bankston will depart and be succeeded by Sarah Morris as OTI’s Director
Press Release
April 23, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC — New America announces a leadership change for the Open Technology Institute (OTI). Kevin Bankston, Director of OTI, will join Facebook in June as a Director of Privacy Policy focused on developing privacy-protective tools and helping shape privacy policy for emerging technologies. Sarah Morris, an eight-year veteran of OTI and currently its Deputy Director, who also directs its work on open internet policy, will assume the role of Director of OTI.

“Kevin has been a dynamic and effective leader during his tenure at OTI,” said New America Vice President for Public Interest Technology and Local Initiatives Cecilia Muñoz. “While we are sad to see him go, we are proud of the organization that OTI has become under his leadership.”

“Kevin is heading to Silicon Valley at a time when tech companies are being intensely, and rightly, scrutinized for the impact of their products and policies on the rights of their users and the health of our institutions. He has the capacity to be a powerful agent of change at this critical moment,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America. “As we wish him well in this important role, OTI will remain a strong player in the technology policy community, with impact that we are proud of on many issues, including those of privacy and surveillance. We are confident that OTI’s influence will continue to grow in Sarah Morris’s capable hands.”

“The decision to leave OTI after a half-decade of serving in its leadership was not an easy one. I feel enormous pride for the work that the OTI team and I have done together to fulfill OTI’s mission of ensuring that every community has equitable access to digital technology and its benefits,” said Bankston. “I depart here confident of two things. First, I am sure that working as a part of Facebook’s team to help set its future course on privacy policy—as a long-time privacy advocate and vocal critic of its past mistakes—is my best opportunity right now to serve that mission and help support the privacy and security of billions of people. Second, I am certain that Sarah Morris is the most qualified person to lead OTI’s amazing team of experts and advocates into its second decade. She is a skilled lawyer and leader who is deeply trusted by the policy community, by OTI’s allies and partners, and by New America’s leadership.”

Bankston has further detailed the thinking behind his transition to Facebook in this open letter.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with incredible leadership throughout my tenure at OTI, and I’m especially grateful for the friendship and mentorship I have gained working alongside Kevin,” said Morris. “I am proud of what we accomplished together at OTI, and I know that he will remain a leader on the many privacy issues that we face. OTI’s work is widely recognized on a variety of technology policy issues, due in large part to the team that Kevin has nurtured in his time as director. I’m both honored and excited to carry that legacy forward as OTI continues to grow and evolve.”

About New America

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About OTI

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) works at the intersection of technology and policy to ensure that every community has equitable access to digital technology and its benefits. We promote universal access to communications technologies that are both open and secure, using a multidisciplinary approach that brings together advocates, researchers, organizers, and innovators. To learn more, please visit us online at and on Twitter @OTI.