Mozilla hires former Google executive as its new policy and security chief

Mozilla has hired Alan Davidson, a former Commerce Dept. digital director, as its new global policy chief.

The Firefox browser maker said Tuesday that the former civil servant, who oversaw internet policy and cybersecurity towards the end of Obama’s presidential tenure, will return Mozilla in the new role after last year serving as its tech policy fellow. Davidson also served as Google’s policy chief amid an uproar in 2011 about the search giant’s location tracking, and later as director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.

In his new role, Davidson will be responsible for Mozilla’s policy, trust and security work, including compliance, security and investigations. Mozilla said that will include the company’s ongoing efforts to defend the open web, such as web standards, net neutrality and pushing for user privacy.

Davidson, who said he was “thrilled” to join the browser giant, will report to Mozilla’s chief operating officer, Denelle Dixon.

“At a time when people are questioning the impact of technology on their lives and looking for leadership from organizations like Mozilla, Alan will add considerable capacity to our public policy, trust and security efforts, drawing from his extensive professional history working to advance a free and open digital economy,” said Dixon.

The browser maker has aggressively pushed for opening data and doubling down on privacy features in recent years.

Last week, Mozilla published its Firefox user data in an effort to be more transparent with its telemetry data collection. And, the company recently announced it will soon block trackers that follow users across the web for, among other things, targeted advertising.