Technology

Much of the new FTC gave Lina Khan a chance to push the aggression agenda

WASHINGTON – The Third Democrats’ confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday broke the opposition’s blockade of the organization. That’s good news for Lina Khan, the party’s president and Democrat.

It is also a test.

With a majority of the FTC’s new Democrats – accompanied by the confirmation of Alvaro Bedoya, who became the fifth commander in the vacancy since October – Khan’s allies and critics are looking at whether she is pushing for a plan to address the company’s problems. Power. That could include filing anti-trust lawsuits against Amazon, imposing online privacy rules and undermining the authority of less-used organizations to cut off the wings of companies like Meta, Apple and Google.

With the meeting closed and the midterm elections looming, agencies such as the FTC and the Ministry of Justice are likely to be the best hope for activists and policymakers who want the government to restrain corporate power. President Biden, who vowed to crack down last year, ordered the FTC and other federal agencies to take steps to limit the concentration.

Under Khan, 33, who took office in June, the FTC had already tried to break up the merger by threatening to challenge the deal after they closed. The commission said it would penalize companies that make it difficult for users to repair their products. And it settled a case with a company once known as Weight Watchers over a diet app that collects data from children.

But a majority of Khan’s new Democrats are needed for a broader “recognition of her vision,” said William E. Kovacic, former FTC chairman, “and the countdown.”

In a statement, Khan said he was “excited” to work with Bedoya and the rest of the commission. She did not say how much of the new FTC would affect her plans.

The FTC’s previous split between the two Republicans and Democrats has sparked unrest. In February, the commission failed to reach an agreement to move forward with a study of the pharmacy’s benefit manager performance.

Sarah Miller, executive director of the U.S. Economic Freedom Program, a progressive group that wants more anti-trust coercion, described the two FTC Republicans, Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson, as “holding on to freedom” with those who “wheel”. Khan’s ability to step over her agenda.

Phillips said in an email that he had replaced the Commission’s “long-standing bilateral work to promote the interests of American consumers.” But he will not support Khan’s agenda when it “exceeds our legal authority,” raising prices for consumers or endangering innovation, he said.

Wilson points to three speeches she made last year that criticized Khan’s philosophy. In a first speech last month, Wilson said Khan and his allies had pulled out It sucks a lot.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat majority, said Wednesday that the vote The vote affirms that Bedoya is “a key point in the abolition of the FTC”.

Khan may now be given the ability to sue Amazon. She wrote a student law review article in 2017 criticizing the company’s dominance. The FTC has begun investigating retail giants under the Trump administration; Some state attorneys have also conducted inquiries with the company.

Khan was able to file a lawsuit to challenge Amazon to buy the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cinema recently. When the $ 8.5 billion deal closed in March, an FTC spokesman noted that the agency “may challenge the agreement at any time if it determines it violates the law.”

Khan may put her stamp on other agreements. The agency is investigating Microsoft’s $ 70 billion acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard and has sent a request to the company this year for more information.

Biden’s ruling last year prompted further anti-trust policies. Has encouraged the FTC and the Department of Justice to revise the guidelines they use to approve the agreement, which could lead to scrutiny. Strictly. Khan may need to be nominated by two other Democrats, Bedoya and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, to approve the bill. Introduce aggressively or challenge critical mergers.

Khan also said she wanted to increase the organization’s authority by considering privacy and privacy practices. How to decide. She said the FTC did not use its role as a regulatory body and that such regulations would strengthen its role to protect consumers.

“Because our economy is only going to continue to be more digital, market rules can help clarify notifications and make enforcement more effective and efficient,” she said last month at a privacy conference.

The FTC could also pursue a request from a group of progressive activists who want the agency to ban data-based advertising business models and ban non-competitive agreements that stop hiring workers from their current employer competitors.

But a former FTC official says Khan faces challenges despite having a majority Democrat. Daniel Kaufman, a former deputy director of the agency’s Consumer Protection Office, says it could take years to establish privacy regulations. Businesses tend to challenge court rules that do not comply with FTC orders to protect consumers from fraud and injustice.

“The FTC’s regulatory capacity is not designed to deal with behavioral advertising, so I told my clients that the agency could start with a lot of newspapers, but it is not clear where it will go,” Kaufman, a partner, said. The law firm BakerHostetler said.

Khan’s efforts will certainly continue to face opposition from Phillips and Wilson. Phillips said he has reservations about the agency becoming more muscle controllers. In January, he said Congress, not the FTC, should draft new privacy rules.

Ms. Wilson recently posted a screenshot of an internal survey showing that the satisfaction of FTC professional staff has waned. “Leadership insults disrespectful employees, causing a circulation of piles that will take half a generation to resolve,” she said.

To overcome their opposition, Khan would have to keep her majority intact. That empowered Bedoya, a privacy expert focused on endangering the civil rights of new technologies, and Slaughter, a former top member of Senate Schumer staff.

Slaughter said in a statement that Bedoya’s privacy expertise would serve the FTC well. She did not comment on the Democratic majority.

Bedoya has been outspoken about his own plans, saying he is “excited” to work with new FTC colleagues.

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