The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a new Office of Technology today that will strengthen the agency’s capacity to protect Americans in the digital economy.

The Office of Technology will have dedicated staff and resources and will be headed by Chief Technology Officer Stephanie Nguyen, the FTC said in a Feb. 17 press release.

“I’m honored to lead the FTC’s Office of Technology at this vital time to strengthen the agency’s technical expertise and meet the quickly evolving challenges of the digital economy,” said Nguyen.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the agency’s talented staff and building our team of technologists,” she said.

The Office of Technology will boost the FTC’s expertise to help the agency achieve its mission of protecting consumers and promoting competition. Specifically, the new office will:

  • Strengthen and support law enforcement investigations and actions;
  • Advise and engage with staff and the commission on policy and research initiatives; and
  • Highlight market trends and emerging technologies that impact the FTC’s work.

The commission voted 4-0 to approve the creation of the Office of Technology.

“For more than a century, the FTC has worked to keep pace with new markets and ever-changing technologies by building internal expertise,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan.

“Our office of technology is a natural next step in ensuring we have the in-house skills needed to fully grasp evolving technologies and market trends as we continue to tackle unlawful business practices and protect Americans,” she said.

According to the agency, the creation of the Office of Technology builds on the FTC’s efforts over the years to expand its in-house technological expertise, and it brings the agency in line with other leading antitrust and consumer protection enforcers around the world.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) applauded the launch of FTC’s new Office of Technology.

“FTC has shown leadership in protecting Americans’ privacy and civil rights against harms from excessive data collection and the use of automated systems,” OSTP Principal Deputy Chief Technology Officer Alexander Macgillivray said in a statement.

“A deep understanding of the technology and data at play in the modern economy is critical to these actions and accomplishing FTC’s broader mission of rooting out unfair and deceptive business practices and unfair competition,” Macgillivray said.

He continued, adding, “Launching the Office of Technology is a huge step forward in building the FTC’s technical expertise and capacity. For that reason, OSTP is thrilled at the creation of this new Office today.”

FTC’s Office of Technology is actively hiring a deputy chief technology officer and technologists in residence to bolster the new office’s work.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.