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FTC beefs up tech expertise with new research office

FTC HQ Consumer Privacy FTC HQ, Washington DC

The Federal Trade Commission is embracing its nickname as the Federal Technology Commission, opening up a new Office of Technology Research and Investigation.

FTC’s chief technologist Ashkan Soltani, who joined the FTC last fall, described the creation of the new office in a blog post Monday.

“The FTC has always been at the forefront of consumer protection issues centered around the “new” technology of the era,” Soltani wrote.

Technology has been front and center of the commission as it deals more and more with issues like privacy and data security, bringing more than 180 enforcement actions. More recently, the FTC has delved into the Internet of Things, big data, connected cars, smart homes, mobile payments, even the geeky issue of algorithmic transparency.

The new office is a successor to the FTC’s mobile technology unit created a few years ago in the FTC’s consumer protection bureau. They’re also hiring, beefing up the commission’s technical expertise, a promise made when Soltani came on board last year.