Former FTC technologist Soltani to head California privacy agency πŸ’₯πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ’₯

The California flag flies above City Hall in Santa Monica, California. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

  • California agency to enforce key state privacy law
  • Ashkan Soltani will lead agency after working at the FTC and Obama White House
  • He helped craft California privacy measures

The California Privacy Protection Agency on Monday named a new executive director, Ashkan Soltani, a former chief technologist for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Soltani will lead the new agency’s daily operations and oversee enforcement activities, rulemaking and public awareness, according to the agency, which is tasked with enforcing the state’s consumer privacy laws. Soltani will also build the agency’s team.

“California is leading the way when it comes to privacy rights and I’m honored to be able to serve its residents,” Soltani said in a statement.

The California privacy agency was established after voters approved California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), last year. That measure, which takes effect in 2023, expanded privacy protections under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was enacted in 2018 and took effect in January 2020.

The newer measure established the agency, which is governed by a five-member board, to implement and enforce the law. Jennifer Urban, a clinical law professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, serves as the chair. The inaugural board members were appointed in March.

Urban welcomed Soltani in a statement. “His background in technology and privacy, and his work on both the CCPA and the CPRA give him a thorough understanding of California privacy law and will stand him in good stead as he leads Agency staff and helps the Agency fulfill its privacy protection mandate,” she said.

Soltani was an “architect” of both the 2018 and 2020 measures, the agency said.

He previously served as a senior advisor to the U.S. chief technology officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Obama administration. As chief technologist at the FTC, he helped create the Office of Technology Research and Investigation, the agency said.

He is also a fellow at two technology and privacy-related centers at Georgetown Law.

Read more:

New California privacy board includes academics, government and law firm alums

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at [email protected]

Former FTC technologist Soltani to head California privacy agency

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