UW CSE 1993 Ph.D. alum Ed Felten, Professor of Computer Science and of Public Policy at Princeton and for the past two years the first Chief Technologist of the Federal Trade Commission, is interviewed extensively in Wired:
“For more than a decade now, Felten has promoted an important idea that has sometimes put him at odds with the music industry and big technology companies: the notion that consumers should be able to take apart and learn about the software and hardware on devices that they own.
“He calls this principle the freedom to tinker, and over the years, Felten and his team of Princeton University researchers have tinkered with some pretty interesting things. They’ve uncovered bugs in voting machines and CD copy-control systems. They ripped apart Sony’s notorious computer-crippling rootkit. In 2008, they showed how it’s possible to read data from a computer’s memory, even after it’s been shut down …
“But Felten’s latest project may be his most ambitious yet. He’s investigating what he calls ‘accountable algorithms.’ Felten and his Princeton team are trying to develop ways to test that the computerized algorithms that loom so large over our daily lives. Take, for example, the algorithm the TSA uses to select travelers for extra security checks. Felten wants to develop a way to check that these algorithms are fair.”
Read more of this great interview here.
(This spring, Felten and 1984 bachelors alum Anne Dinning will return to UW to receive our 2013 Alumni Achievement Awards.)