The White House Names Princeton University Professor Ed Felten as Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer

Ed Felten. Photo: Claire Felten.
Ed Felten. Photo: Claire Felten.

Edward Felten, a Princeton University computer scientist who is a leading expert on computer security, has been named deputy chief technology officer in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. The White House announced the appointment this afternoon.

Felten has been teaching at Princeton University since 1993. In 2005, he was named director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. His research interests include public policy issues related to information technology, including electronic voting, cybersecurity policy, technology for government transparency, and Internet policy.

He has published more than 100 papers and two books on technology law and policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow at the Association for Computing Machinery. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics with honors from the California Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington.

Felten was the first chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, serving from January 2011 through August 2012. His new federal appointment is now in effect. He will assume duties full-time June 1, taking a leave of absence from Princeton until Dec. 31 of 2016. He plans to return to Princeton University in spring 2017.

“Ed Felten is a leader in the field of technology policy, and we are delighted that he will again be providing his expertise in the nation’s service,” said Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School for International Affairs. “At this juncture in history, it is critically important to have leaders who understand both technology and policy.”

Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy in 1976 with a mandate to advise the president and his staff on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Felten will work under U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith to advise the president and his staff on policy issues.

“The tremendous insight that Ed has brought to his research and teaching over the decades will serve the nation very well,” said H. Vincent Poor, dean of Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “As technological advances and policy decisions become increasingly intertwined, Ed exemplifies how someone with deep technical expertise can engage in the policy arena for the benefit of society.”