Menu
FTC appoints privacy researcher Soltani as chief technologist

FTC appoints privacy researcher Soltani as chief technologist

Soltani has assisted newspapers with investigations of government surveillance and online privacy

Ashkan Soltani, a security and privacy researcher, is the new chief technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Ashkan Soltani, a security and privacy researcher, is the new chief technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's new chief technologist is high-profile digital privacy consultant Ashkan Soltani, a move that signals the agency's growing interest in policing online tracking and other Internet privacy issues.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced Tuesday she has appointed Soltani, a security researcher who shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for stories about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs, as the agency's chief technologist.

Soltani will join the FTC in November and offer advice on technology and policy issues, including digital privacy, an area in which the agency has increasingly focused on bringing enforcement actions.

A technology consultant and researcher, Soltani has focused on privacy and security issues for more than 20 years. He previously worked at the FTC in 2010 and 2011 as a staff technologist.

The FTC, in recent years, has treated the chief technologist position as a rotating one, with temporary appointments of tech experts from industry and academia.

Soltani's appointment earned praise from several privacy advocates. "The FTC continues to hire absolutely outstanding chief technologists," tweeted Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

"FTC hires a privacy/security samurai," tweeted Jules Polonetsky, executive director of the Future of Privacy Forum.

During his past work at the FTC, Soltani assisted with privacy investigations of Google and Facebook. He worked as a technical consultant to The Wall Street Journal for the newspaper's "what they know" series investigating online tracking that began in 2010.

Soltani has also worked as a technical expert for multiple state attorneys general. His career also includes a stint as an investigative reporter for the Washington Post, sharing the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with his co-authors for the newspaper's coverage of NSA surveillance programs. Earlier in his career, Soltani was employed as a manager and consultant for two security technology companies, including Sophos.

He succeeds Latanya Sweeney as FTC chief technologist. Sweeney is returning to Harvard University, where she founded and directs Harvard's Data Privacy Lab.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Federal Trade CommissionregulationU.S. National Security AgencyEdith RamirezgovernmentChris SoghoianprivacyAshkan SoltaniFuture of Privacy ForumAmerican Civil Liberties UnionsecurityJules Polonetsky

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Show Comments