Former FTC Technologist Soltani To Head California Privacy Agency

Privacy advocate and technologist Ashkan Soltani has been tapped to serve as executive director of California's new privacy protection agency.

Soltani, former chief technologist with the Federal Trade Commission, was one of the architects of California's 2018 groundbreaking privacy law, as well as an updated version that was passed last year.

The 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act law gives consumers the right to learn what personal information has been collected about them by companies, have that information deleted, and prevent the sale of that data to third parties.

The 2020 update, the California Privacy Rights Act, expanded the original law in several ways, including by creating a new privacy agency to oversee compliance. The update also aimed to close a loophole in the 2018 law that could have allowed companies to continue to track consumers in order to serve them ads.

Soltani also helped create the Global Privacy Control -- a tool that was developed as a universal opt-out mechanism for California residents.

The tool, available as a downloadable extension and as a setting in some browsers, transmits a do-not-sell request when consumers visit websites.

California's attorney general has told companies to honor requests sent through that tool.

Soltani will come to the California agency from Georgetown Law, which he joined in 2019 as a distinguished fellow at its Institute for Technology Law & Policy and its Center on Privacy & Technology.

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