Biden taps privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya for FTC

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President Joe Biden will nominate privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission, an agency facing accusations of lax scrutiny of major tech platforms’ anti-competitive behavior and data practices, according to people familiar with the White House's plan.

Both Bedoya and the FTC declined to comment.

Key context: Bedoya would be one of three Democrats on the five-person commission, which oversees privacy, data security and some antitrust enforcement. Under Chair Lina Khan, a fellow Biden nominee, the FTC has laid out an aggressive enforcement agenda that could bring a flurry of new antitrust probes, lawsuits and rulemakings.

He would replace Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra, whom Biden has tapped to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Two individuals confirmed the pick, both speaking anonymously because the nomination has not yet been officially announced by the White House.

Bedoya’s background: Bedoya, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school, specializes in privacy law and founded the school’s Center on Privacy & Technology in 2014.

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Peru, Bedoya has focused his research on how technologies such as facial recognition have led to discrimination against immigrants and minorities.

Before moving to Georgetown, Bedoya was chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, chaired by then-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). In that position, he helped organize oversight hearings on mobile location tracking and biometric privacy.

How he’s seen: Bedoya is viewed as knowledgeable about tech issues, particularly privacy lapses by the biggest online platforms.

What’s next: Bedoya’s nomination requires Senate confirmation. After the White House officially nominates him, the Senate Commerce Committee will schedule a confirmation hearing and vote.

Emily Birnbaum contributed to this report.

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