Bulletins

Biden picks privacy expert Bedoya for FTC spot

Bedoya will join Biden's pick for chair, Lina Khan, at a commission that's been increasingly targeting tech companies.

FTC building exterior
The FTC's leadership floated a tougher line on data abuses.
Photo: bpperry/Getty Images

President Joe Biden has picked privacy expert Alvaro Bedoya to serve as a Democratic Federal Trade Commissioner, according to several media reports.


Bedoya, a founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown's law school, is known for skepticism of corporate data practices. If confirmed by the Senate, he would join Lina Khan, a tech company critic and advocate of revamped antitrust law whom Biden named as FTC chair in June.

Under Khan, the FTC, which has authority over both antitrust and consumer protection issues including consumer privacy, has been steadily broadening its look at online markets, widening its conception of harm and potentially readying more regulations.

On Wednesday, the commission is due to examine whether to weigh in on privacy breaches on health apps and connected devices, for instance, and potentially make it easier to issue rules to govern practices across whole industries.

Bedoya formerly served as chief counsel of a Senate subcommittee on privacy and technology, where he focused on issues such as mobile location, biometrics and government surveillance. He would replace progressive Commissioner Rohit Chopra, a mentor to Khan whom Biden has named to take over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. There are currently three Democrats on the five-person commission.

Republican Commissioner Noah Phillips tweeted that Bedoya "would bring a bright and thoughtful voice and a depth of experience working across the aisle on privacy to the FTC."

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The final recommendations are due within 75 days, during which time, the board's work will be paused.

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