Net neutrality proponent Tim Wu named senior advisor to the FTC

Tim Wu
Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu heads to the FTC

Columbia Law School professor Wu is credited with having coined the term “Net Neutrality.”  He is an outspoken advocate for an Internet free from corporate or government censorship or content restrictions. He starts his position on February 14th where FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says that he will be “working on issues at the nexus of consumer protection, competition, law, and technology.”

Clearly, Wu will not be focused on net neutrality per se, but as knowledgeable tech savvy advocates for consumers go, this guy is the real deal.  All of which makes his appointment as a senior advisor to the Federal Trade Commission a little surprising given the Obama administration’s tendency to opt instead for industry insiders who advocate for the agenda of big business.

The FCC continues to waffle on issues like Net Neutrality. Meanwhile. Victoria A. Espinel, as Obama’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (a position informally known as the copyright czar) is working with Homeland Security to seize domain names of websites without due process.  The government appears repeatedly to treat the Internet more as a threat to corporate America rather than as an asset to its citizens.

However, the FTC is flying a decidedly different flag.  In addition to Wu, the agency also appointed Ed Felton as it’s chief technologist a few months ago.  He’s probably best known for his efforts to expose problems with electronic voting machines, and for his vocal advocacy against DRM (Digital Rights Management) as a way to lock music, movies, and TV shows.

It’s not clear what’s in the water over at the FTC, but let’s hope it finds its way into drinking fountains across Washington D.C.