The FTC has hired Ashkan Soltani, a highly regarded and respected technologist and privacy researcher, as its chief technologist.
The move is the latest in a string of interesting hires by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2009 the agency hired Chris Soghoian, a privacy and security researcher, as its first in-house principal technologist. Soghoian had long been a critic of government security and privacy policies and spent several months at the FTC working on high-profile investigations of companies such as Twitter and Facebook.
In 2010 the agency hired Ed Felten, a Princeton professor, as chief technologist in an effort to connect more closely with the industry and academic communities on security and privacy issues. Now comes Soltani, who worked at the FTC several years ago as a staff technologist and has been an adviser to the commission, as well.
“Technology and online and mobile platforms are continuing to evolve at a rapid pace and will remain a key focus for the FTC as more and more consumers adopt mobile devices and tablets,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “I am pleased to welcome Ashkan to our talented team where he will play a vital role in continuing our important work on behalf of American consumers.”
Soltani has had an interesting and varied career, working as a consultant, researcher and technical adviser at various points. Most recently, he has been working with the Washington Post on its coverage of the Edward Snowden and national security stories and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service for that coverage.