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[Slashdot] - White House Reportedly Plans To Name Amazon Foe Lina Khan To FTC

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: US President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to nominate antitrust scholar Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, a move that would indicate his administration is open to aggressive antitrust regulation not only generally but specifically against Amazon and other Big Tech firms. At present, Khan is an associate law professor at Columbia Law School. Khan vaulted directly to antitrust superstardom in 2017 while she was still a law student, when she published her blockbuster paper "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox" in the Yale Law Journal. In "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," Khan argued that using consumer pricing as the key benchmark for determining whether a company or a merger is anticompetitive is not sufficient and that Amazon's size and scale make it anticompetitive. "Specifically," she wrote in the abstract, "current doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive." Her work made an enormous splash. FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, a Democrat, sought her as an advisor in 2018, when the commission was kicking off an antitrust enforcement review. "It's rare to come across a legal prodigy like Lina Khan," Chopra told The New York Times in 2018. "Nothing about her career is typical. You don't see many law students publish groundbreaking legal research, or research that had such a deep impact so quickly." Critics, on the other hand, dubbed her theories "hipster antitrust." During 2019 and 2020, Khan served as one of the House subcommittee staffers who compiled a massive, blockbuster report digging into the antitrust implications of Big Tech. After 16 months of hearings, research, and analysis, the committee determined last fall that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google were all in some way breaking competition law and needed to be reined in. The news comes only a few days after the Biden administration announced it was bringing on Tim Wu as special advisor on technology and competition policy. Wu is one of the most outspoken critics of Big Tech, arguing in his most recent book, 2018's The Curse of Bigness, that unchecked market concentration was leading to a new Gilded Age and all the problems that come with it.

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