Jun 15, 2021 - Technology

Lina Khan will chair Federal Trade Commission

Photo illustration of Lina Khan with the Capitol Building, a gavel, and binary code

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House has named Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission, marking a major shift toward more aggressive enforcement aimed at the digital economy.

Driving the news: The Senate confirmed Khan to the FTC 69-28 on Tuesday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said during a Judiciary Committee hearing that Khan was to be named chair of the agency. A source familiar with the matter confirmed the White House's choice to Axios.

  • Khan does not need to go through additional Senate confirmation to take on the role of chair.
  • The FTC is currently being chaired by Democrat Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, a former aide for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Why it matters: Khan, an antitrust expert well-known for her ideas for applying competition law to the tech industry, is sure to spook tech platforms.

  • Khan, 32 years old, is a hero to critics of tech who want to see the government act more aggressively against what they see as anti-competitive behavior from companies like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook.

Catch up quick: Khan was nominated to be a commissioner on the FTC by the Biden administration in March. She's an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches antitrust.

  • Formerly an adviser to the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust investigation of tech firms, Khan also worked for Democratic FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.
  • Khan rose to prominence in 2017 when she wrote an article for Yale Law Journal titled, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," arguing that Amazon's retail business should be separated from its selling platform.
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