Computer science and public affairs professor Edward Felten will take a one-year leave of absence from Princeton to serve as the first chief technologist of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the University announced Nov. 4. His appointment begins in January 2011.
Felten directs the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), an innovative group of faculty and visiting scholars that will be featured in the cover story of Princeton Alumni Weekly’s Nov. 17 issue. Since its creation in 2005, CITP has emerged as a leader in research on electronic voting, government transparency, and a range of computer security and privacy issues.
Felten’s work first made national headlines in 2000, when he led a team of researchers that published a paper showing how to circumvent a digital-rights-management system that record companies had incorporated into their music files. The creators of the anti-piracy system sued Felten, but the suit was later dropped. At CITP, Felten has earned widespread attention for his work on flaws in electronic voting machines and disc encryption systems.
In his new position, Felten will advice FTC officials on consumer issues that are linked to technology, consumer protection, including online privacy and cybersecurity, as well as antitrust matters in the tech industry, according to a University news release.