In discussing technology policy and security issues here, I’ve frequently mentioned Professor Ed Felten of Princeton, director of the University’s Center for Information Technology Policy [CITP], who is serving a term as the Chief Technologist of the US Federal Trade Commission [FTC]. I’ve just discovered that, in his new capacity, he has recently started a blog, Tech@FTC; he describes the goal this way:
Our goal is to talk about technology in a way that is sophisticated enough to be interesting to hard-core techies, but straightforward enough to be accessible to the broad public that knows something about technology but doesn’t qualify as expert. Every post will have an identified author–usually me–who will speak to you in the first person. We’ll aim for a conversational, common-sense tone–and if we fall short, I’m sure you’ll let us know in the comments.
I have not yet had a chance to read all the posts that are there, even though there are not that many yet, but I am sure that they will be worth reading. I’ll mention two recent posts that I have read. The first explains why “hashing” data, such as Social Security numbers, does not make the data anonymous, The second discusses why pseudonyms aren’t anonymous, either. (I’ve previously written a couple of times about the difficulty of “anonymizing” data.)
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of what’s there, and to Prof. Felten’s future posts. At the time his appointment to the FTC post was announced, I was pleased that someone so well-qualified had been chosen. Reading the new blog reinforces that feeling.