Hello, world.

Welcome! I’m Ed Felten, Chief Technologist at the FTC. Let me introduce you to this blog.

As the nation’s consumer protection agency, the FTC works on technology issues every day. You’ll see lots of discussion of technology in our reports, cases, speeches and testimonies, not to mention the consumer and business education pieces we publish. But we haven’t had a venue for speaking, more directly and less formally, to the technically minded public about tech issues. That’s what this blog is for.

Our goal is to talk about technology in a way that is sophisticated enough to be interesting to hard-core techies, but straightforward enough to be accessible to the broad public that knows something about technology but doesn’t qualify as expert. Every post will have an identified author–usually me–who will speak to you in the first person. We’ll aim for a conversational, common-sense tone–and if we fall short, I’m sure you’ll let us know in the comments.

I’m looking forward to having a conversation with you about technology. Stay tuned for our first “real” post.

[A note on the title of this post, for non-techies: By tradition, the first program one writes when learning a new programming language is a simple one that prints out the line “Hello, world.” Like many traditions of our field, it’s a relatively young one, created in the 1970’s by Brian Kernighan and popularized by the book “The C Programming Language” by Kernighan and Ritchie (“K&R”). I will date myself by admitting that the first computer program I wrote was not “Hello, world” because I started programming before K&R. But I learned my second programming language from K&R, and have often followed the “Hello, world” tradition in learning new languages since then.]

 

Note: This blog post was reposted from the former Tech @ FTC blog. Comments are now closed for this post.

 

Original Comments to “Hello, world.”

Jason Mueller
March 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hello, Ed. Looking forward to following the blog!

Jim Warren
March 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Hi, Ed – Delighted to see this. Hope you don’t get too flooded.
I would REALLY like to you address is the FTC’s [so-called] Do Not Call list’s functionality.
It gives the impression that the FTC is going to vigorously go after the endless barrage of unwanted robo-calls from robots that NEVER give up.
It takes time and effort to fill-in all the info the FTC requires, in order to report a complaint.
But nothing EVER seems to change – not in the slightest. The same robo-abusers continue without letup!
BEST wishes!
–jim; Jim Warren, open-govt & tech-civlib advocate & sometime columnist
//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Warren [computing]

Ed Felten
March 26, 2012 at 7:15 am

Jim,

The complaints you file don’t vanish into a black hole. They help us enforce the law. We maintain an extensive database of consumer complaints, called Consumer Sentinel, that is available to our enforcement folks and to other law enforcement agencies. Consumer complaint data helps us prioritize enforcement efforts. And information from complaints helps us plan and conduct investigations–it’s useful to know in advance which tricks a particular bad guy is using. We’re not able to respond to individual complaints; but rest assured that the complaints we receive do help us enforce Do Not Call and other consumer protection laws.

Ed Felten
March 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

By the way, the FTC today took down another robocaller, which had been responsible for billions of calls. The order imposes a $5.3 million judgement–the company can’t pay it all but will give up $3 million.

Clinton
March 26, 2012 at 7:36 am

Hi Ed, great to see the FTC launch a blog.

Would you be updating us on actions the FTC takes against, for example, merchants with fake endorsements and testimonials? Nothing seems to have changed since your announcement in 2009 on the new guidelines (http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm)

I’m looking forward to these “real” posts you promise :)

Clinton

Thomas Gideon
March 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

Ed,

Very excited at this addition to your work and communications at the FTC. You mention there may/will be voices other than yours on this blog. Are you entertaining external submissions at all or will you be reserving posts to folks working with you on technology policy at the FTC.

Looking forward to more and congratulations on the launch!

Ed Felten
March 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Thomas – Thanks. It will probably be government folks only posting here. But if you want to suggest topics for me to blog about, feel free. I know you’re on top of the tech news. You can email me at efelten@ftc.gov

Mitch
March 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Of course, purists like myself believe that there should be no capital letters.

//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hello_world_program

main()
{
printf(“hello, world\n”);
}

Salman
May 7, 2012 at 1:43 am

Hello Ed, First time visitor to the FTC blog. Looking forward for some great updates

The author’s views are his or her own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission or any Commissioner.