11.24.2008 11:38 AM
Obama names FCC review team and technology reform group

President-elect Obama’s transition team has announced an FCC agency review team for the new administration. The leaders will be Susan Crawford, a professor of communications and Internet law at the University of Michigan and former partner at Washington, D.C., communications firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; and Kevin Werbach, an assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The president-elect has also announced a committee to develop technology policy for the new administration. The Technology, Innovation and Governmental Reform group will be headed by Julius Genachowski, Blair Levin and Sonal Shah.

Reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work was Henry Rivera, a former Democrat commissioner on the FCC who was involved in planning for the commission’s transition. Rivera has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the “New York Times” reported.

Both Crawford and Werbach are both net neutrality advocates and video gaming enthusiasts. Werbach is a hardcore World of Warcraft player and expert on virtual worlds. He has written extensively on gaming technology and its importance to work and technology. Crawford, a board member at ICANN, also counts herself “a huge fan” of Second Life, the 3-D virtual world.

On the technology policy team, Genachowski is co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital. From 1994 to 1997, he served at the FCC, holding the position as chief counsel to the chairman.

Levin, a managing director of Stifel Nicolaus, is the firm’s key media, telecom and technology analyst. Earlier, Levin was chief of staff to chairman Reed Hundt at the FCC from 1993 through 1997.

Shah heads Google’s global development efforts. Prior to that, she was vice president at Goldman, Sachs and Co., developing and implementing the firm’s environmental policy.

The Obama administration is expected to create a technology czar. Any of the three policy team members are considered good candidates for that position.

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