The Biden administration is examining Lina Khan, a prominent critic of big tech companies, for a high-profile role in government in the latest sign that the US president intends to adopt aggressive competition policies.
Two people familiar with the verification process told the Financial Times that Khan was chosen for a federal government job, most likely as a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment and did not confirm that Khan was under consideration, but reports of his potential appointment have already drawn praise from progressives and critics in Silicon Valley.
Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said: “Lina is the most knowledgeable person on how big tech companies have built their monopolies and how they have harnessed their market power in ways that disadvantage their companies. competitors. “
Aurelien Portuese, director of antitrust and innovation policy at the Foundation for Information Technology and Innovation, a think tank funded in part by large tech companies, said, “With Tim Wu. . Lina Khan has been instrumental in bringing a populist view of antitrust to the mainstream media and the general public. “
Portuese added, “Khan’s antitrust populism threatens to derail traditional antitrust law enforcement as a driver to improve consumer benefits and spur innovation.”
Khan rose to prominence at Yale Law School, where she wrote an article about what she described as Amazon’s anti-competitive practices.
His paper helped redefine thinking on corporate power in the age of technology and gave impetus to growing calls for stricter competition enforcement against the biggest companies in Silicon Valley.
Last year she helped write a damning report from Congress who revealed that Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook had all abused their market power and called for US competition laws to be rewritten.
FTC role would give Khan oversight of commission case against facebook, which officials say could force the company to sell Instagram and the WhatsApp messaging service.
It would also give him a say in whether the commission should take action against Amazon, which he is also reportedly investigating.
Even though Khan doesn’t take on a role in government, progressives say Biden has already shown he’s serious about gaining market power in the tech industry and elsewhere.
They believe that with appointments like Wu’s, the president has shown he is willing to be a lot tougher on big tech companies than Barack Obama was.
Barry Lynn, director of the Open Markets Institute and former colleague of Khan, said: “The Biden administration has appointed a lot of people who are really good at all of these issues. All over the White House, the State Department, and the National Economic Council, this is a government radically unlike anything we’ve seen before. “