New York: US President Joe Biden is likely to nominate 32-year-old Lina Khan from Columbia Law as the commissioner of Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC). She is known as leading voice in the antitrust movement.
If nominated by Biden administration and confirmed by Senate, she will become the youngest ever FTC Commissioner. She will be overseeing privacy, data security and antitrust.
Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox
While still a law student at Yale, Khan cranked out a 96-page zinger titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”, published in the Yale Law Journal in January 2017.
Broadly, Khan’s argument is that the old antitrust framework needs an internet era fix. She makes the case that the consumer surplus argument alone isn’t enough or ever intelligent anymore.
Khan frames the next era of competition policy for platform markets in the form of two questions: “First, does our legal framework capture the realities of how dominant firms acquire and exercise power in the internet economy? And second, what forms and degrees of power should the law identify as a threat to competition? Without considering these questions, we risk permitting the growth of powers that we oppose but fail to recognise.
Biden decided to nominate Khan as FTC Commissioner as the regulators, lawmakers and the courts are facing the pressure to take on Big Tech.
Earlier, Rebecca Slaughter, the present FTC acting chairperson said that the agency will adopt an aggressive approach towards tech.
Meanwhile, Timothy Wu, until recently a Professor at Columbia University’s law school and the man who coined the term ‘net neutrality’, is wading into a new role as the Joe Biden administration’s linchpin on technology and competition policy. His scholarly work so far signals a bare-knuckle regulatory agenda against big tech platforms.
The duo’s approach to Big Tech is clear in their groundbreaking papers.
Wu, the author of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age”, has a way of constructing stories via analogies – “it is not the biological chisel but the technological chainsaw that is most quickly redefining what it means to be human”.
With inputs from agencies