FTC Democrat hires tech critic who wrote paper describing Amazon as monopoloy

FTC Democrat hires tech critic who wrote paper describing Amazon as monopoloy
© Greg Nash

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra is adding a prominent critic of the technology industry to his staff who has suggested that Amazon should be broken up or regulated like a public utility.

Chopra announced on Monday that he is hiring Lina Khan as a legal fellow in his office.

Khan previously worked at Open Markets, a Washington, D.C. think tank known for its critical positions on the size and power of companies like Amazon and Google.

Khan authored a paper, titled "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," that argues that Amazon is a monopoly.

It said that while Amazon doesn’t trigger normal antitrust considerations, it instead is an example of a new type of monopoly. As such, the paper proposes potentially breaking up Amazon or regulating it like a public utility.

Her ideas have caught steam with some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaDemocrats call for Twitter, Facebook to take down Pelosi video posted by Trump The Memo: Sanders supporters sense victory in Iowa Democrats look to ramp up fight over Trump's war powers MORE (D-Calif.), whose district encompasses Silicon Valley companies.

Khanna has called for a new calculus for determining monopolies that includes a comprehensive review that would more easily label massive technology companies as monopolies.

Khan worked as a director of legal policy at Open Markets through its controversial departure from the New America think tank after publishing a critical post about a major donor to the organization, Google.

Khan’s hire comes at a new juncture for the FTC, with a newly appointed swath of commissioners taking on a high-profile investigation of Facebook over how it shared user data with the Trump-linked research firm Cambridge Analytica.

New FTC Chairman Joe Simons has said that he wants to re-examine how the agency polices tech companies.

He promised “vigorous enforcement” of Silicon Valley technology companies. Khan’s new boss, Chopra, has signaled that he won’t let the companies off easy either.