Originally published: February 8, 2011
Last updated: February 8, 2011 - 9:55pm
Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, an influential academic and author who popularized the term "net neutrality," has been appointed senior advisor to the Federal Trade Commission.
Wu, 38, will start his new position on Feb. 14 in the FTC's Office of Policy Planning, and will help the agency to develop policies that affect the Internet and the market for mobile communications and services. The FTC said Wu will work in the unit until July 31. Wu, who is taking a leave from Columbia, said that to work after that date he would have to request a further leave from the university. In Wu's view, which he laid out in a book published last year called The Master Switch, new information technologies follow a predictable cycle in which open and free systems eventually become controlled by a single corporation or cartel. Mr. Wu believes the Internet may follow a similar pattern, as a few companies emerge to dominate key sectors: Google in the online search market, Amazon.com in retail, Apple in digital media and Facebook in social networking. Wu says the next big technology policy issue is figuring out the rules of the road for these emerging platforms, and that is what he will focus on.
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