Christopher A. Ott
Leveraging his experience from more than 13 years at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), including successfully litigating complex data security matters, conducting hundreds of investigations, and winning dozens of appeals, Chris Ott, CIPP/US, works with clients on disputes, investigations, and strategy relating to data security, privacy, blockchain, and AI issues. Mr. Ott has been the lead attorney on hundreds of matters involving the intersection between white collar matters (accounting, securities, money laundering) and cyber crimes (from international criminal gangs to state actors). Mr. Ott, who has won more than 30 complex federal trials, brings an active, problem-solving mindset to data protection and privacy matters where clients could previously only find compliance and counselling advice.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Ott held various influential positions at DOJ. In these roles, he investigated and charged the largest known computer hacking and securities fraud scheme and the hack of Yahoo by Russian intelligence operatives, the largest data breach in history, as well as driving other notable cyber investigations and white-collar investigations. He led multi-attorney and multi-agency law enforcement and regulatory investigations into securities fraud, wire fraud, hacking, health care fraud, privacy intrusions, money laundering, money transmitting, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in the United Kingdom and Latin America.
In his recent role as Supervisory Cyber Counsel to the National Security Division of the DOJ, Mr. Ott was lead counsel on multi-district and international cyber investigations involving state actors. He consulted extensively with the intelligence community while advancing cyber investigations and coordinated extensively with regulators such as the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Ott also acted as Senior Trial Counsel of the Business and Securities Fraud Unit in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), Assistant United States Attorney in the Business and Securities Fraud Unit in EDNY, and Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of California (SDCA). Throughout his time at the DOJ he won multiple awards, including the 2018 Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Excellence.
In 2018, Mr. Ott joined a general practice firm in Washington, D.C., where he handled matters involving issues such as: internal investigations related to data leakage and privacy events; data breach response for various industries (including health care); white collar defense of a bank executive related to cryptocurrency matters; privacy and data security incidents involving ad technology; litigation and compliance counselling on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA); AML and BSA regulatory investigations relating to the use of cryptocurrencies by depository banks; business email compromise litigation; counseling on potential facial recognition software regulation and legislation; constitutional litigation related to privacy regulations; representing a medical laboratory company in connection with the regulatory investigations flowing from the hack of its contractor, a medical billing firm; class action defense regarding privacy policies; and counseling a machine learning and AI company on how to establish privacy, ethics, and anti-corruption policies to prepare them for regulatory inquiries for their worldwide business. A California barred attorney, Mr. Ott has broad experience directing CCPA readiness projects – from counselling to litigation - for clients throughout the world.
Mr. Ott is routinely quoted in major news outlets, such as The New York Times, Global Data Review, Politico, Law360, Bloomberg, JD Supra, Legaltech News, and Daily Beast, and he speaks at leading industry conferences on issues such as hacking, cybersecurity, and privacy.
- In Re Yahoo! Inc. Securities Litigation, 17-cv-00373 (N.D. Ca. 2017)
- In Re: DHB Industries, Inc. Class Action Litigation, 05-CV-4296 (E.D. New York) and 08-3860 (Second Circuit)
- United States v. Karim Baratov (ND Ca 2017)
- United States v. Vitaly Korchevsky, et al., 15-CR-381 (RJD)
- United States v. Sandy Winick, et al., 13-CR-452 (ENV)
- United States v. Farukh Baig, et al., 13-CR-351 (SJF)
- United States v. Thomas Donovan, et al., 12-CR-127 (JS)
- United States v. David H. Brooks, et al., 05-CV-688 (JS) & 06-CR-550 (JS)
- United States v. Hamad Ali, et al., 06-CR-200 (ENV)
- United States v. James Leonard, et al., 02-CR-881 (LDW)
- United States v. Michael Romano, et al., 09CR168 (JFB)
- United States v. Joseph Romano, et al., 09-CR-170 (SJJ)
- United States v. Pedro Tavarez, 11-CR-178 (LDW)
- United States v. Rick Abraham Cohen, 11-CR-482 (JS)
Publications & Presentations
Author, “Detecting and Mitigating Potential Bias in Automated Decision Making,” JD Supra (December 2019)
Author, “C.L.O.U.D.’s On the Horizon: How Law Enforcement Electronic Data Requests Are Going Global,” Law.com (October 2019)
Panelist, "Checking out of Hotel California: The California Consumer Privacy Act, and Looming Federal Legislation," Consumer Bankers Association Live 2019, Washington, D.C. (April 2019)
Presenter, “Identifying, Preventing and Combatting Cryptocurrency Crimes,” Microsoft Digital Crimes Consortium, Lisbon, Portugal (March 2019)
Panelist, “Cryptocurrency Hacking and the Legal Climate for Blockchain Technology,” RSA Conference, San Francisco, CA (March 2019) (Video Link)
Author, “Destination Unknown: The Perilous Future of Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Technologies Under the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018,” UCLA Law Review (February 2019)
Panelist, "Data Security and Privacy Issues in International Internal Investigations," Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council, Seattle, WA (October 2018)
Author, “INSIGHT: Cracking Open a Can of Worms: Why Carpenter v. United States May Not Be the Privacy Decision That Was Needed ... or Wanted," Bloomberg BNA Privacy & Data Security Law News (July 2018)
Author, “What You Should Know About The 24/7 Cybercrime Network,” Law360 Expert Analysis (June 2018)
Professional Affiliations, Honors & Recognition
International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), 2014-present
Mortgage Fraud Coordinator, Eastern District of New York, 2013-2016
Cyber Crime Working Group, Eastern District of New York, 2014-2018
Assistant Attorney General Award for Excellence, Department of Justice, 2018
National Victim Rights Champion, United States Department of Justice, 2015
Award for Meritorious Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2011
Award for Meritorious Service, Internal Revenue Service, 2011
Award for Meritorious Service, Defense Contracting Investigative Service, 2011
Award for Meritorious Service, Defense Contracting Auditing Agency, 2011
Special Commendation, Money Laundering Unit, London Metropolitan Police