CPW has previously reported on the anticipated impact of a Biden presidency on data privacy and data privacy litigation.  In an update to that prior analysis, President Biden has reportedly selected Lina Khan, a prominent antitrust scholar and professor at Columbia Law School, for a vacancy at the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”).  Khan’s nomination is the latest signal from the Biden administration that it is focused on antitrust regulation and enforcement, especially in the tech space.

Khan initially rose to prominence after publishing “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” as a student at Yale Law School, a paper exploring how Amazon’s practices could be violating antitrust laws.  She also served as legal counsel for a 16-month investigation into Big Tech conducted by the House Antitrust Subcommittee, and helped author the Subcommittee’s 400-page report advocating for changes to antitrust law, following a finding that four tech giants engaged in anti-competitive behavior.  She previously served as a fellow in FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra’s office, and advocated for increased regulation of Big Tech during her time there.

Khan’s appointment leaves little doubt that the Biden administration is prepared to take a more aggressive approach towards enforcement and regulation of Big Tech and modernization of antitrust law.  Her appointment comes as several prominent investigations and lawsuits are already pending against tech giants, including a lawsuit the FTC and state attorneys general brought last December and a complaint the Department of Justice recently filed.

Khan would be the third Democratic Commissioner on the FTC, and her nomination would require Senate confirmation.  She is being tapped to fill a vacancy created when President Biden elevated Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter to Acting Chair in January.  If Khan is confirmed, there remains one additional vacancy to be filled, as President Biden nominated Commissioner Chopra to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

For more information on this development, stay tuned.  CPW will be there.  And for all things public policy, be sure to check out SPB’s Capital Thinking blog featuring the firm’s incredible Public Policy team.

SPB’s Brandon Roman also contributed to this analysis.