High-profile Internet privacy expert, investigative journalist and former staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Ashkan Soltani is going back to work for the agency, this time as chief technologist to advise the commission on evolving technology and policy issues.

The FTC serves as the highest consumer protection body in the United States. Its appointment of Soltani, who has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher focused on online privacy and security issues marks the agency's growing interest in safeguarding citizens against online tracking, surveillance and other privacy and security issues.

"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," says FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement. "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 returns to the FTC after a one-year stint as a staff technologist in 2010 to 2011 where he worked on privacy investigations and negotiations with major technology companies Google and Facebook. As a journalist, Soltani was part of the Washington Post team that was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the publication's series of investigative stories on the mass government surveillance leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

He also served as chief technical consultant for The Wall Street Journal's "What They Know" series on online tracking, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, and as a technology researcher for The New York Times. As a computer scientist, Soltani was a consultant and manager at online security firm Sophos and has written about privacy issues on his own blog.

Soltani earned his Master's degree in Information Management and Systems from the University of California, Berkeley. He took up Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego during his undergraduate years.

"I'm extremely excited to return to the FTC in a new role as Chief Technologist and help move forward the agency's work in protecting consumers' privacy and security," Soltani says in a statement. "I hope to leverage my experience and expertise in emerging technologies to help advance Chairwoman Ramirez's goal of safeguarding consumers' privacy, while ensuring they can reap the benefits of new innovations."

Soltani, who assumes office in November, replaces Latanya Sweeney, a Harvard University computer scientist who founded and directs Harvard's own Data Privacy Lab.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.