Facebook has hired former US Federal Trade Commission chairman Timothy J. Muris in the face of increased government scrutiny of its privacy policies. The former senior Bush administration regulator will be defending the social networking company’s privacy practices in Washington.
The hiring of the top gun antitrust lawyer comes at a time when the FTC is busy taking a close look at complaints against the company that were filed by privacy advocates, sources tell the Financial Times.
Update: Venturebeat reports that Facebook said that Muris hasn’t been formally hired yet.
Just last week, Muris picked up the Miles W. Kirkpatrick Award, in honor of his “significant and lasting contributions” to the FTC, antitrust law, and the cause of consumer protection.
(As FTC Chairman, Muris created the popular US Do Not Call Registry.)
In the same week, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based advocacy group, asked the FTC to investigate recent changes made by Facebook that make more information public by default and automatically share information with other websites.
On May 5th, TechCrunch uncovered a huge security hole that enabled any user to view the live chats of their ‘friends’ (it wasn’t the first security issue we ran into). This morning, peHUB also published an embarrassing story about the breaching of the Facebook account of venture capitalist (and Facebook board member) Jim Breyer.
His extensive experience notwithstanding, Muris has got his work cut out for him. And to think Facebook hasn’t even turned on its major location feature yet.
Lucky for him, Muris won’t be alone in his quest: Facebook had earlier hired Tim Sparapani, an ex-American Council of Civil Liberties lawyer, to become its director of public policy.