Thu, 29 Jul 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Lina Khan, an antitrust researcher focused on Big Tech's massive power, was sworn in as chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission this week.

The U.S. Senate had confirmed Khan with bipartisan support.

The news brought cheers from progressives seeking to crack down on tech firms that own a hefty share of a growing sector of the economy. "We applaud President Biden and the Senate for recognizing the urgent need to address runaway corporate power," advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the administration's selection of Khan was "tremendous news. With Chair Khan at the helm, we have a huge opportunity to make big, structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, our society, and our democracy."

Previously, as a staffer for the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, she helped write a report alleging abuses of market dominance by Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook and Google.

In 2017, Khan wrote a highly regarded article, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," for the Yale Law Journal. She argued in the paper that the traditional antitrust focus on price was inadequate to identify antitrust damage done by Amazon.

She recently taught at Columbia Law School.

In addition to antitrust, the FTC investigates allegations of deceptive advertising.

On that front, Khan will join an agency adapting to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling from April which said the agency could not use a particular part of its statute to demand consumers receive restitution from deceptive companies, but can only ask for injunctions. Congress is considering a legislative fix.

Khan previously worked at the FTC as a legal adviser to Commissioner Rohit Chopra, Biden's pick to become director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

(Photo credit: Columbia University).

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