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Biden appoints tech critic to lead antitrust unit

President Joe Biden He appointed a prominent critic of new technologies Tuesday to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division, in another sign of aggressive moves to counter dominance by Silicon Valley’s top companies.

Jonathan Kanter, an attorney who has represented firms challenging tech platforms, would head the division tasked with handling a series of cases against the largest tech firms for alleged abuse of monopolies.

Kanter’s nomination, which has yet to be confirmed by Congress, follows the appointment of Lina Khan, an advocate for the division of the largest tech companies, to head the Federal Trade Commission, which is also involved in law enforcement. antitrust.

A White House statement called Kanter “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful competition policy and antitrust enforcement.”

Kanter has represented companies like Yelp and Spotify, for which tech giants like Google and Apple have used unfair practices to suppress competition.

He also represented the News Media Alliance, according to which large platforms have hindered media companies.

As a former FTC attorney, he recently formed his own “antitrust law firm that advocates for federal and state antitrust enforcement,” the White House noted.

The first indications of the administration Biden They suggest a greater effort to enforce antitrust laws, amid calls to dissolve some of the largest and most successful tech firms.

Earlier this month the US president unveiled a far-reaching plan aimed at shifting the balance of power away from corporations and redirecting it to “the smallest.”

Biden described the initiative as a shift from what he called Washington’s “40-year experiment in allowing giant corporations to accumulate more and more power,” when he signed an executive order mandating changes at all levels, from the sale of hearing aids to disclosure of airline baggage fees.

“We have to go back to an economy that grows from the bottom up,” he said.

The order, widely praised by consumer advocates but scathingly criticized by industry lobbies, comprises 72 initiatives at the federal level and heralds the creation of the White House Competition Council to monitor progress on new regulations. .

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