Announcing Senior Research Fellow, Avni Sinha

20 June 2024

The World Privacy Forum is very pleased to announce Avni Sinha as a senior research fellow at the World Privacy Forum. She will be conducting research in the areas of data governance and privacy, public interest technology and policy, and AI. Avni comes to WPF from her role working with Dr. Latanya Sweeney at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, where she conducted critical research under Latanya Sweeney regarding HIPAA, among other issues. “This is an important and transitional time in data governance and privacy,” said WPF Executive Director Pam Dixon. “We are so pleased to have Avni working with us; she is contributing to several key projects and it is already quite obvious how extraordinary her work is. Avni has the capacity and depth of experience to make a meaningful and positive impact; we are looking forward to working with her.”  

More about Avni Sinha

Avni Sinha is a public policy expert specializing in public interest technology, data privacy and governance, and public service delivery. With over a decade of experience, she has substantially influenced regional and national data governance landscapes.

Avni’s professional journey includes significant roles at esteemed organizations. At the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, she conducted critical research under Latanya Sweeney, focusing on improving data privacy and citizen security in the United States, specifically examining use cases of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and algorithmic fairness issues highlighted by leaked documents from Meta (Facebook).

Her tenure at the World Bank Group has been particularly influential in supporting state and national governments in India. Over the years, She has designed and drafted multiple state government policies and frameworks, advising governments on their implementation and alignment with national laws and guidelines. Avni has also co-authored advisory papers for the Indian government on leveraging administrative data for decision-making and enhancing data-driven governance in the country. During her time with the Government of Punjab, Avni made significant contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a key role in managing the pandemic, developing its data management systems and processes, and designing educational campaigns to mitigate misinformation in rural and remote regions of the state. Her earlier work with the state of Andhra Pradesh included re-engineering government processes to improve efficiency and accessibility of government programs with technology, designing and implementing frameworks and data systems to improve accountability in governance, and establishing pathways for feedback and independent assessments from civil society and academia.

Avni has written extensively for leading publications in India, including the Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, The Print, India Development Review, and The Wire. Her writings have brought critical issues related to algorithmic fairness, data governance, and digital infrastructure to the forefront, reflecting her deep understanding and foresight in public policy and technology.

Avni’s academic background is prestigious and diverse. She holds a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she was a Fellow in the Edward S. Mason Program. Additionally, she earned a Post Graduate Program in Management from the Indian School of Business, where she was awarded the Torch Bearer Award and the Develop India Scholarship, and a Bachelor of Technology from Sikkim Manipal University.

About the World Privacy Forum

The World Privacy Forum is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(C)(3) public interest research group. The organization is focused on conducting in-depth research, analysis, and consumer education in the area of data protection and data governance, particularly in complex data ecosystems that have the potential for high impacts on people and communities. WPF focuses on pressing and emerging issues in the areas of identity, AI, health, and finance, among additional areas. WPF is among one of the only data governance and protection-focused NGOs conducting independent, original, longitudinal research. The World Privacy Forum has had notable successes with its research and analysis, which is pioneering and consistently ahead of trends.

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