Biden considers prominent tech critic for government job

The Biden administration is selecting Lina Khan, a prominent critic of big tech companies, for a high-profile role in government in the latest sign that the US president intends to adopt aggressive competition policies.

Two people familiar with the vetting process told the Financial Times that Khan was chosen for a federal government job, most likely as a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

News of his impending appointment, which was first reported by Politico, came days after the White House appointed Tim Wu, another well-known Big Tech critic, as its competition policy adviser.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment and did not confirm that Khan was under review, but reports of his potential appointment have already garnered praise from progressives and critics in Silicon Valley. .

Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said: “Lina is the most knowledgeable person on how big tech companies have built their monopolies and how they have leveraged their market power in ways that disadvantage their competitors.

Aurélien Portuese, director of antitrust and innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank funded in part by large tech companies, said: “Together with Tim Wu. . Lina Khan has helped bring a populist view of antitrust to the mainstream media and the general public. “

Portuese added: “Khan’s antitrust populism threatens to derail traditional antitrust enforcement as a driver to improve consumer benefits and spur innovation.

Khan first rose to prominence at Yale Law School, where she wrote an article on what she described as Amazon’s anti-competitive practices.

His article helped redefine thinking about corporate power in the tech age and gave impetus to growing calls for stricter competition enforcement against Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.

Last year, she helped write a damning congressional report that revealed that Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook had all abused their market power and called for a rewrite of U.S. competition laws.

A role at the FTC would give Khan oversight over the commission’s case against Facebook, which officials say could force the company to sell Instagram and the WhatsApp messaging service.

It would also give her a say in whether the commission should take action against Amazon, which it would also investigate.

Even if Khan doesn’t secure a role in government, progressives say Biden has already shown a serious desire to seize market power in the tech industry and elsewhere.

They believe that with appointments like Wu’s, the president has demonstrated that he is prepared to be much tougher on big tech companies than Barack Obama was.

Barry Lynn, director of the Open Markets Institute and former colleague of Khan, said: “The Biden administration has appointed a lot of people who are really good on all of these issues. Across the White House, State Department, and National Economic Council, this is a drastically different government than any we’ve seen before. “

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