With Vice President Kamala Harris casting a deciding vote in the U.S. Senate, Alvaro Bedoya was confirmed as a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The confirmation gives Democrats a 3-2 majority on the commission, and will permit it to advance President Joe Biden’s agenda under FTC Chair Lina Khan.
As a professor, Bedoya was the founding director of the Center for Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law School. He was nominated to the FTC by President Biden in September last year.
Press and internet freedom groups hailed the appointment.
“We’ve waited for more than a year for a fully functional FTC — far too long given the important work before the agency,” said Craig Aaron, Co-CEO of Free Press, an advocacy organization concerned with media and technology issues. “Alvaro Bedoya’s appointment will finally allow this vital and reinvigorated agency to get to work on protecting people, promoting competition and holding powerful companies accountable. he has devoted his career to protecting people’s privacy against predatory data brokers, and safeguarding everyone’s rights to equal opportunity. Bedoya knows how to protect internet users against the worst harms of tech companies like Google and Meta.”
“With another consumer champion in place at the FTC, Chairwoman Khan now has a fully functioning agency poised to enforce the nation’s antitrust and consumer protection laws,” said Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge, which advocates for an open internet. “This means the agency is equipped with the team it needs to publish rules and launch bold cases to promote competition and protect consumers.”
Business interests had sought to delay his confirmation and thus the Democratic majority on the Commission. In April, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a letter raising a variety of concerns about the FTC’s direction under Chair Khan.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.