Big Tech critic gets nod for key US regulatory post

A prominent Big Tech critic could join the Federal Trade Commission, which is one of the US agencies enforcing antitrust laws
A prominent Big Tech critic could join the Federal Trade Commission, which is one of the US agencies enforcing antitrust laws PAUL J. RICHARDS AFP/File
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Washington (AFP)

US President Joe Biden on Monday named a prominent advocate of breaking up Big Tech firms to a key regulatory post, in a move suggesting an aggressive posture on antitrust enforcement.

The White House said it was submitting the nomination of Lina Khan, an associate professor of law at Columbia University's law school, to the Federal Trade Commission, an agency with authority over some mergers and antitrust policy.

The move follows the naming of Tim Wu, another Big Tech critic, to an economic advisory post in the White House.

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.

She also authored a 2017 paper called "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," which outlined the growing dominance of the e-commerce and tech giant.

Khan worked in the office of Federal Trade Commission member Rohit Chopra and was legal director at the Open Markets Institute, a think tank which has been highly critical of the Silicon Valley giants.

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.