Ed Felten, a professor at Princeton University and a well-respected voice on security and privacy issues, is joining the White House as the deputy CTO.
In his new role, Felten will be working under Megan Smith, the CTO of the United States and a former Google vice president. Felten has been at Princeton in various roles since 1993 and currently is the director of the Center for Information Technology Policy. He is widely respected in the security, privacy, and academic communities and has long been a writer and speaker on technology and policy topics.
“We are excited to announce that Dr. Ed Felten is joining the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer. Ed joins a growing number of techies at the White House working to further President Obama’s vision to ensure policy decisions are informed by our best understanding of state-of-the-art technology and innovation, to quickly and efficiently deliver great services for the American people, and to broaden and deepen the American people’s engagement with their government,” Smith and Alexander Macgillivray, also deputy CTO at the White House, said in announcing the appointment.
Felten will be on leave from Princeton and the CITP while he’s serving at the White House. This is his second stint in Washington, following his time as CTO of the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 and 2012. Felten has done a wide range of security research in his career, including quite a bit of analysis of the security of electronic voting machines that found serious issues with machines from Diebold and Sequoia.
Several federal agencies have hired high-profile technologists in recent years. In addition to Felten and Smith at the White House, the FTC last year hired Ashkan Soltani, a privacy and security researcher, as its chief technologist, and the Federal Communications Commission in 2014 appointed Scott Jordan, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Irvine, as its CTO.