Carnegie Mellon University

Aleecia McDonald

Dr. Aleecia M. McDonald

Special Faculty Instructor, Institute for Software Research

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Aleecia M. McDonald is the Associate Director of the Privacy Engineering Program within Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, and an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute. Dr. McDonald’s research focuses on the public policy issues of Internet privacy including user expectations, behavioral economics and mental models of privacy, and the efficacy of industry self-regulation.

Previously, Dr. McDonald was Director of Privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society where she maintains a non-resident Fellow affiliation. She co-chaired the WC3’s Tracking Protection Working Group, an effort to establish international standards for a global Do Not Track consent mechanism. She was Mozilla’s first Senior Privacy Researcher. Dr. McDonald is on the Board of Directors for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and an academic advisor to the Electronic Privacy Information Center. A decade of prior experience working in software startups adds a practical engineering focus to her academic work.

Dr. McDonald's research findings have been featured in media outlets such as the Washington Post, Ars Technica, and NPR. She has presented testimony regarding privacy several times to the California Assembly, including on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA.) Dr. McDonald has contributed to testimony before the United States Senate and the Federal Trade Commission. She has a courtesy cross-appointment in Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon, where she earned her PhD.