Lindsey Barrett, Laura Moy, Paul Ohm, and Ashkan Soltani write: How does a hundred-year-old agency shift its resources and focus to grapple effectively with Big Tech and some of the biggest policy puzzles of a generation? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has faced this challenge since the dotcom era. As it still scrambles to adjust, the FTC has received harsh criticism in recent years for its approvals of ballooning tech mergers and its seeming inability to deter or avert privacy scandal after privacy scandal. At the same time, popular interest in reining in Big Tech and protecting privacy has mounted. Perched at the intersection of these two issues is a wonky but fundamental problem for the agency: Do the FTC’s longstanding conflict-of-interest rules unnecessarily impede the agency’s ability to attract, retain, and deploy technical expertise that it badly needs?
Devin Coldewey writes for TechCrunch: Facebook has joined Amazon in a show of alarm at the sudden rise of antitrust hawk Lina Khan to the position of FTC Chair by asking that she be recused from all decisions relating to the company. The argument, more or less identical to Amazon’s, is that before her appointment, Khan was too outspoken about her professional opinion that companies like these are in violation of antitrust rules.