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Ashkan Soltani to join White House tech team

Former Federal Trade Commission chief technologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ashkan Soltani has joined President Barack Obama's team of techies. He'll be a senior advisor to U.S. CTO Megan Smith at the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In his new role, Soltani will focus on consumer protection, big data and privacy issues, including algorithmic accountability, data ethics and data discrimination.  He also will help with IT capacity-building in government, including working with agencies to build career paths for technologists across the executive branch.

CTO Megan Smith tweeted, "excited to welcome our extraordinary colleague."

Before joining the White House, Soltani was chief technologist at the FTC, advising the agency on evolving technology and policy issues. Prior to that he worked as an investigative journalist at the Washington Post, where he earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for his work on series of reports on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. Soltani was also the primary technical consultant on the Wall Street Journal's investigative series, "What They Know," which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

In 2010, as one of the first staff technologists in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the FTC, Soltani helped lead investigations into Google, Facebook, Twitter, HTC and PulsePoint. 

Carnegie Mellon professor Lorrie Faith Cranor will succeed Soltani at the FTC in January. 

Posted by Bianca Spinosa on Dec 16, 2015 at 5:16 PM


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