Geeks are from Mars, wonks are from Venus
Two years ago, Ars described the appointment of Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten to be the Federal Trade Commission's first chief technologist as "a decision so shockingly sane that it's still a bit hard to believe." After 20 months on the job, Felten has wrapped up his tenure at the agency and returned to Princeton. He has been succeeded by Columbia computer scientist Steve Bellovin.
So what's it like to be a geek in the land of lawyers? Ars Technica interviewed Felten by phone on Tuesday to find out. First, an important disclosure: Felten was my advisor when I was in grad school at Princeton from 2008 to 2011.
Felten first came to public attention in the late 1990s when he served as the government's expert witness in the Microsoft antitrust case. During the aughts, he developed a reputation as a thorn in the side of companies that made insecure products, as he and his grad students found flaws in multiple DRM schemes. In one instance, he was forced to sue the recording industry to establish that publishing his research did not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. More recently, he focused on exposing security flaws in touch-screen voting machines, announcing a proof-of-concept voting machine virus in 2006. We named him as one of our "people to watch" in tech policy in 2009.
- Tue, 2013-05-21 00:25
- Tue, 2013-05-21 00:16
- Tue, 2013-05-21 00:08