The true story of a hacker's brief tenure as a fed at the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission managed to turn a few heads by hiring anti-DRM advocate Ed Felten as it's first Chief Technologist earlier this month, but it turns out the agency made an even more surprising hire last year -- one that didn't last very long. As Forbes reports, the FTC hired 29-year-old hacker Chris Soghoian in 2009, along with a handful of other technologists tasked with investigating corporations suspected of violating consumers' privacy. While that name might not ring a bell, Soghoian did gain some notoriety in 2006 by building a tool that was able to print out fake boarding passes for Northwest Airlines (in an effort to expose a security flaw), and he's since engaged in number of other activities that could either be considered hacks or pranks depending on your point of view. So how did his tenure at the FTC work out? Well, he nearly quit after being forced to submit to a fingerprint scan on his first day, and last December he sparked a controversy by posting audio he secretly recorded at an industry-only security conference on his personal blog -- although that did seemingly end up influencing a Justice Department report on phone record searches. Perhaps not surprisingly, that didn't exactly lead to a long career as a fed, and the FTC chose not to renew Soghoian's contract this year, stating only that he "provided valuable service to the agency."