Biden Names Big Tech Critic To Head Anti-trust Unit

US President Joe Biden, with Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021. Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP

 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday named a prominent Big Tech critic to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division in another sign of aggressive moves to counter the dominance of major Silicon Valley firms.

Jonathan Kanter, a lawyer who has represented firms challenging tech platforms, would if confirmed head up the division to handle an array of cases expected against the largest tech firms for alleged monopoly abuses.

The Kanter nomination follows the appointment Lina Khan, an advocate of breaking up the biggest tech firms, to head the Federal Trade Commission, which is also involved in antitrust enforcement.

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

Kanter has represented firms such as Yelp and Spotify which have claimed tech giants such as Google and Apple have used unfair practices to thwart competition. He also represented the News Media Alliance in claims that large platforms have stymied media firms.

A former FTC lawyer, he recently started his own “boutique antitrust law firm that advocates in favor of federal and state antitrust law enforcement,” according to the White House.

Early indications from the Biden administration suggest a ramped-up effort at antitrust enforcement, amid calls by some to break up some of the biggest and most successful Big Tech firms.

Biden earlier this month unveiled a wide-ranging plan aimed at tilting the balance of power away from corporations and towards “the little guy.”

Biden described the initiative as a shift from what he called Washington’s 40-year “experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power” as he signed an executive order directing changes on everything from the sale of hearing aids to the disclosure of airline baggage fees.

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

The order, which drew strong praise from consumer advocates but a scathing response from some industry lobbying groups, outlines 72 initiatives across the federal government and announces the creation of the White House Competition Council to monitor progress.

Over 100,000 U.S. Visas Revoked From Seven Countries

Over 100,000 Visas Revoked Amid Trump Travel BanMore than 100,000 US visas have been revoked in the wake of the Trump administrations recent travel ban on citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries, according to media reports on Friday.

The figure emerged from a government attorney at a federal court hearing in Virginia.

The lawyer for the Justice Department, Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg revealed that this number was for a single week in response to President Trump’s executive immigration order.

“The number 100,000 really sucked the air out of my lungs,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents two brothers from Yemen who were detained after arriving at Dulles Airport on Saturday and filed the original lawsuit that Virginia just joined.

A federal judge granted the state’s motion to join the lawsuit challenging the immigration ban that caused chaos at airports over the weekend.