President Biden impelled his latest nomination to the Federal Trade Commission this week, sounding digital privacy professional Alvaro Bedoya to join the agency as it takes a hard-handed look at the tech industry.
Bedoya is the founding director of the Center on Privacy& Technology at Georgetown’s law school and previously dished as principal attorney for onetime Senator Al Franken and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Bedoya has worked on legislation addressing some of the most pressing privacy issues in tech, including stalkerware and facial acceptance systems.
It is the honor of my life to be nominated to serve on the FTC. When their own families landed at JFK in 1987 with 4 suitcases and a grad student stipend, this was not what we expected. Thank you @JoeBiden and @linakhanFTC, thank you Sima, my charity, mummy, dad, Pablo, our families. Vamos.
— Alvaro Bedoya (@ alvarombedoya) September 13, 2021
In 2016, Bedoya co-authored a report titled” The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America ,” a year-long investigation that dove seriously into the police use of facial acceptance organisations in the U.S. The 2016 report examined law enforcement’s trust on facial acceptance systems and biometric databases on a nation grade. It argued that regulations are desperately needed to curtail potential abuses and algorithmic disappointments before information and communication technologies naturally becomes even more commonplace.
Bedoya also isn’t shy about announcing out Big Tech. In a New York Times op-ed a few years ago, he took aim at Silicon Valley companionships presenting consumer privacy lip service in public while calmly funneling millions toward lobbyists to subvert consumer privacy. The brand-new FTC nominee singled out Facebook specifically, pointing to the company’s efforts to undermine the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, a government constitution that serves as one of the only meaningful checks on invasive privacy rehearsals in the U.S.
Bedoya argued that the tech industry would have an easier time shaping a single, broad bit of privacy regulation with its lobbying exertions rather than a commotion of targeted, smaller monies. Antitrust preaches in Congress taking aim at tech today seem to have learned that same assignment as well.
” We cannot underestimate the tech sector’s power in Congress and in government parliaments ,” Bedoya wrote.” If the United Government tries to pass broad rules for personal data, that try may very well be co-opted by Silicon Valley, and we’ll miss our best shot at meaningful privacy protections .”
If supported, Bedoya would connect Big Tech critic Lina Khan, a recent Biden FTC nominee who are currently chairs the agency. Khan’s focus on antitrust and Amazon in particular would dovetail with Bedoya’s focus on adjacent privacy concerns, spawning the pair a colossal regulatory attendance as the Biden administration seeks to rein in some of the tech industry’s most injury excesses.
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