The FTC “has big ambitions to answer the cries from members of Congress and consumer privacy advocates to rein in big tech. However, the agency — which has just nine technologists — does not seem to be having much luck attracting and retaining the staff to make that happen. Three recent departures could stymie its hiring goals.” This, according to a recent story in Digiday
The story adds:
As it repeatedly requests additional funding to hire more tech-savvy staff to assist in data privacy-related investigations, the FTC was hit with a setback last week with the departure of its top technologist, Erie Meyer, who left the agency after coming on board in June.
“The FTC has struggled to bring on a lot of technologists for years,” said Justin Brookman, director of privacy and technology policy at Consumer Reports, who has served as policy director in the regulator’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation. “They don’t have enough privacy lawyers, they don’t have enough technologists, they don’t have enough anything.”
Even as the FTC adds some, it’s losing more. While it was recently announced that Olivier Sylvain will serve as a senior advisor to FTC Chair, Lina Khan, and look closely at technology issues, including the use of artificial intelligence, others have left. Recent departures, which Digiday calls “blows,” Daniel Kaufman, the former deputy director of the Consumer Protection Bureau left the Bureau to join BakerHostetler’s digital assets and data management practice group. Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the FTC’s privacy division inside the bureau, will join Wilson Sonsini.
“Justin Brookman, [the] director of privacy and technology policy at Consumer Reports, who has served as policy director in the regulator’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation…called the departures ‘a big deal[.]'” He added that the FTC is “going to be in a holding pattern on privacy for a little bit.”
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More