Headline June 28, 2015/ "' !WE ALL. ...[ UP ].....FOR SALE? "'

"' !WE ALL. ...[ UP ].....FOR SALE? "'

ASHKAN SOLTANI,  the chief technologist in his  worldview is similar to his predecessors', but his resume is just so very different.

At age 40,  he is younger and lacks their  Ivy League affiliations. He is a populist who has conducted research into  online consumer  tracking and profiling for several national newspapers and government agencies.

IN 2014, he was part of the team that won a  Pulitzer Prize  for public service for a series of articles examining government surveillance techniques brought to light by the National Security Agency contractor  Edward J.Snowden.

He has also worked as a researcher at  The New York Times and provided technical assistance for the newspaper's  "You For Sale"   series on the data broker industry.

On the way, Mr. Soltani has earned a reputation as a forensic specialist able to explain complicated technical processes in plain terms.

''If the store you went into tracked everything you tried on and touched and then followed you to other stores, and the stores would all exchange notes, I think people would be uncomfortable with that and stop shopping" Mr.Soltani said at the conference in Philadelphia.

"But that is exactly what  Technophoria happens online."

That kind of talk has not exactly endeared him to the online advertising industry. After Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of  F.T.C, announced his appointment last fall, Politco ran a news item in which a trade group executive complained that the agency was doing itself a  "disservice by hiring advocates."

But Mr.Soltani's fans credit him with a  matter-of-factly elucidating the inner workings of  Web......and.........Mobile Services.

In a previous job at the F.T.C, in 2010, Mr.Soltani worked on an investigation of Google Buzz, a social network, in which he helped commissioners and staff lawyers understand the technical differences between the company's public statements and user privacy and its actual practices.

In 2011, regulators charged Google with deceptive privacy practices, contending that the company had enrolled  Gmail users in its social network without offering them clear ways to opt-out or control how the service shared their personal details.  As part of a settlement with the agency, Google agreed to submit to regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. 

"He's not a bomb thrower. He's very much, "Here are the facts and that's why we're worried."  David C. Vladeck, a professor of law at Georgetown, said of Mr. Soltani.

Professor Vladeck, a former director of the  F.T.C's Bureau of  Consumer Protection, added : "For a small agency, you want somebody who is willing to stick to their guns when they're right." 

As chief technologist, Mr.Soltani has helped the F.T.C. create a new unit, called the Office of Technology Research and Investigation, to enable the agency to examine a wider array of emerging technologies  -including Internet-connected card, connected home devices and mobile payment systems  -and their potential implications for data security and privacy.

A few weeks ago, for instance, the agency filed a complaint against Nomi, a retail-tracking company that uses mobile phone signals to monitor shoppers' movements in stores.

According to the complaint, the company had failed to live up to its commitment to inform shoppers about the store surveillance and allow them to opt-out.

Mr. Soltani subsequently wrote a blog post detailing technical solutions  -like sending notices and  opt-out messages directly to shoppers mobile phones   -that could address that issue.

It seems the free flow of information benefits consumers most when information flows in both directions. 

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' The World's Premier Debate "'

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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