The White House has announced Dr. Ed Felten will be named U.S. Chief Technology Officer, making him a new addition to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Dr. Felten falls in line with recent additions to 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.
Felten’s “expertise in the intersection of public affairs and computer science has led him to experience in government, academia, and advising.” He most recently has served on the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University as the founding Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy.
Felten worked as the first Chief Technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as well as at the U.S. Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division.
Before he wrote more than 100 papers and two books on technology law and policy, Felten earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics with Honors from the California Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctoral degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. Felten is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Fellow at the Association for Computing Machinery.
As WhiteHouse.org states, “We are so pleased to welcome Ed to our team.”
Felten has been vocal about some in government’s take on technology and government matters. When cyber-security coordinator Michael Daniel said that his lack of technical knowledge is an advantage for him, Felten tweeted his disdain.
As Daniel said: “You don’t have to be a coder in order to really do well in this position. In fact, actually, I think being too down in the weeds at the technical level could actually be a little bit of a distraction.”
Imagine reaction if WH economic advisor bragged about lack of econ knowledge, or Atty General bragged abt lack of legal expertise.
— Ed Felten (@EdFelten) August 21, 2014
He also opined on the Silk Road trial:
“Is this a failure of crypto? Yes and no. While it’s true that Silk Road is now shut down and the alleged DPR is in custody, it’s also true that Silk Road stayed up for a long time and processed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions, and that DPR eluded identification for a long time. The lesson is that crypto can make it much harder for investigators to unravel an operation—but not impossible.”
Dr. Felten will be on leave from Princeton while serving as Chief Technology Officer.