FTC names Internet privacy expert as senior adviser

The Federal Trade Commission has named an Internet privacy expert to advise on mobile privacy and competition issues as the agency takes on high-profile investigations of potential harm to consumers by the Web’s biggest firms.

Paul Ohm, an associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School, will begin Aug. 27 as senior policy adviser for consumer protection and competition issues at the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning.

“Paul’s keen insights on how the law applies to technology and privacy issues will be invaluable to the FTC’s work in these areas,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in a statement.

In the past two years, the FTC has settled privacy cases with Facebook and Twitter under its mandate to protect consumers. It closed without fines or punishment a separate review of Google’s privacy practices related to the company’s scooping of residential user data from WiFi networks.

The FTC is investigating Google on allegations of breaking antitrust laws. The European Commission announced Monday that Google appeared to violate antitrust rules in four business practices.

Ohm follows a string of scholars, such as Columbia University’s Tim Wu, to offer advice to the FTC — an agency that has become the nation’s top cop for the Internet industry.

“The FTC is the focal point for so many of the important information privacy debates taking place today,” Ohm said in a news release.

Ohm specializes in information privacy, computer crime law nad intellectual property law.

Related:

Google search practices draw scrutiny of E.U.

Two schools of thought: High-tech vs. no-tech

Google announces privacy changes

FTC: Apps for kids get poor grades for privacy

Cecilia Kang is a staff writer covering the business of media and entertainment.
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