updated 04:40 pm EDT, Fri November 5, 2010
FTC picks Ed Felten as chief tech officer
The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it had nominated its first Chief Technologist. Princeton Computer Science and Public Affairs professor Dr. Ed Felten will provide advice on technology issues and how they apply to government policy covered by the Commission's work. The official has expertise in core FTC subjects such as intellectual property, privacy, security and web apps.
Dr. Felten follows in a pattern of US agencies getting technology-aware leaders since the Obama administration began, including FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Chief Technology Officer of the US Aneesh Chopra.
The move comes just as the FTC may have had a major influence in shaping technology development in the US through key rulings. It recently put some limits on Intel's competitive practices and was key to approving the Google/AdMob deal. Unofficially, it may have also directly influeced Apple's App Store policies by raising the possibility of legal action. A Chief Technologist may give it direct insight into the nature of future mergers and policy approaches without having to immediately turn to consultants or other outside experts, a factor which helped delay the AdMob deal.
FTC officials expect Dr. Felten to take office in January. [image via Princeton]