News Monday that President Joe Biden has picked Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission elicited a flurry of praise from progressive groups who said he’d be an ally in fighting surveillance abuses and corporate concentration.
“In choosing Alvaro Bedoya to serve on the FTC, President Biden is doubling down on his commitment to breaking Big Tech’s power and control over the U.S. economy and democracy,” Barry Lynn, executive director of the Open Markets Institute, said in a statement. “Bedoya has demonstrated a willingness to go head-to-head with the most powerful of corporations and that he knows how to defend a democratic and just society in the 21st century.”
Lynn’s comments followed multiple news reports that Biden had tapped Bedoya—founding director of Georgetown’s Center on Privacy & Technology and a staffer for former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)—to join the FTC as the third Democratic commissioner. The White House released an official announcement Monday afternoon.
If confirmed by the Senate, Bedoya would serve on a commission led by “antitrust trailblazer” Lina Khan and would replace Democratic commissioner Rohit Chopra, who’s awaiting Senate confirmation to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
According to the Washington Post, Bedoya “spearheaded pivotal research into how the government’s use of facial recognition software and other surveillance technologies hurt America’s most marginalized groups and threaten civil rights nationwide.”
“Biden is doubling down on his commitment to breaking Big Tech’s power and control over the U.S. economy and democracy.”
In his remarks, Open Markets’ Lynn praised Bedoya’s previous work, noting his “long experience helping to develop the ‘net neutrality’ rules that Americans applied to internet service providers in 2015” as well as his “extensive work highlighting the dangers of surveillance by private monopolists, which poses one of the most direct threats to the liberty and wellbeing of America’s citizens and businesses.”
“With Bedoya on board, along with the other strong FTC commissioners,” Lynn added, “we’re looking forward to more swift action from the FTC to protect American workers, communities, and democracy from harmful, monopolistic practices such as invasive surveillance, exclusionary contracts, non-compete clauses, and mega-mergers.”
Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, pointed to Bedoya’s research as evidence he’ll “be an aggressive advocate against corporate concentration and monopoly,” and framed the expected nomination as coming at a time when the FTC’s “success in revitalizing competition policy is essential to determining whether we build back better for working people, small businesses, and local communities—or whether powerful corporations will be further allowed to extract, abuse, and dominate.”
Praise also came in from Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron, who called Bedoya a “stellar choice” and “a brilliant thinker and accomplished advocate on privacy and technology issues.”
“The Senate should move as quickly as possible to confirm him,” said Aaron, “and ensure that the FTC can work at full strength to advance its work, which has never been more important.”
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