RealTime IT News

Farber Accepts FCC's Chief Techology Post

Renowned University of Pennsylvania computer scientist David J. Farber Monday was named chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission.

Farber is the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems at the University of Pennsylvania where he is leading research in ultra-high speed networking and electronic commerce.

Farber designed the one of the first operational message distributing systems used by the Internet and he is one of the authors of the SNOBOL programming language. He was one of the principals in the creation of CSNet, NSFNet, BITNET II, and CREN. A respected computer scientist, Farber has held positions with Bell Labs, the Rand Corp., University of California-Irvine and the University of Delaware.

Farber currently serves as a director of both the Internet Society and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Farber is also well known for his testimony during the Microsoft Corp. antitrust hearing when his testimony produced a decisive setback for the software company's defense.

Farber's testimony in the Microsoft (MSFT) trial disputed the company's justification for integrating its Web browsing software into the Windows operating system. He told the court Microsoft did this for marketing purposes and not, as the company claimed, to benefit consumers because the browser could be readily removed.

Farber said that his opinion offered as an Internet expert during the Microsoft trial was not at issue in his decision to accept the post with the FCC.

"I don't see that my testifying is at all an issue," Farber said. "I'm a chief tech expert for the FCC, not an e-advocate."

Farber will take the FCC post under a special one-year appointment. He will officially remain on the payroll at the university, while the federal government will reimburse the university for his services.

Farber said FCC chairman William E. Kennard is well suited to deal with some critical issues regarding the nation's telecommunications infrastructure.

Kennard said the federal agency was fortunate to have Farber join them at this time.

"The FCC, and, indeed, the entire country, are very fortunate to have the services of such a distinguished, world-class technology expert as Dave Farber at this time, as the FCC continues to tackle the complicated and increasingly technical issues involved in ensuring universal broadband access."