The Pakistani-origin critic of ‘Big Tech’ companies, Lina Khan selected by US President Joe Biden for the top post at the American antitrust regulatory body.
In a move suggesting an aggressive posture on antitrust enforcement, the White House said:
it was submitting the nomination of Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency with authority over some mergers and antitrust policy.
The move follows the naming of Tim Wu. Tim is another Big Tech critic, to an economic advisory post in the White House.
Who is Lina Khan?
Lina Khan an associate professor of law at Columbia University’s law school. She is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School. Khan previously served as counsel to the US House of Representatives subcommittee on antitrust. Which last year released a lengthy report suggesting grounds for breaking up giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
Moreover, she teaches and writes about antitrust law, infrastructure industries law, and the antimonopoly tradition.
She became a public figure during her time as a law student at Yale University. When her article titled Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox was published in Yale Law Journal 2017. Her article made a significant impact in American legal and business circles. Even, The New York Times described it as “reframing decades of monopoly law.”
Furthermore, Khan worked in the office of Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra. Also, she was legal director at the Open Markets Institute, a think tank that has been highly critical of the Silicon Valley giants.
Why Lina face backlash?
The news comes amid a growing backlash against tech behemoths that have dominated key economic sectors and seen their influence grow during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is likely to trigger a contentious nomination fight, with some Republicans already expressing opposition to Khan.
Utah Senator Mike Lee said earlier this month that “being less than four years out of law school,” Khan “lacks the experience necessary for such an important role as FTC Commissioner.”
Additionally, Lee said:
“Her views on antitrust enforcement are also wildly out of step with a prudent approach to the law”. Also, that her appointment “would signal that President Biden intends to put ideology and politics ahead of competent antitrust enforcement.”
But Charlotte Slaiman of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge welcomed the news, saying
“Earlier this month that Khan’s appointment will signal that antitrust enforcement and important competition policy changes will be a high priority.”
Lawmakers and policymakers in recent years have been mulling the decades-old “consumer welfare” standard of antitrust enforcement. That allows for a largely hands-off approach for big firms as long as prices are not impacted.
Critics say this approach has allowed Big Tech firms to grow unchecked with unprecedented power over key sectors of the economy.
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