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Biden Nominates Georgetown Privacy Law Professor Bedoya to FTC

  • Alvaro Bedoya’s selection is cheered by privacy advocates
  • He is to be nominated for FTC seat vacated by Rohit Chopra

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Georgetown University law professor Alvaro Bedoya to be a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, the White House said Monday.

Bedoya, a privacy law expert who leads the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown’s law school, would replace FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who has been nominated to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Bedoya would bolster the commission’s expertise in privacy and data security, which is increasingly becoming one of its high-profile responsibilities in addition to antitrust enforcement. The agency in 2019 fined Facebook Inc. a record $5 billion for privacy violations in a settlement that the FTC’s two Democratic commissioners at the time said didn’t go far enough to protect consumers.

FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement that his expertise would be “enormously valuable to the Commission as we work to meet this moment of tremendous need and opportunity.”

Privacy advocates cheered the news of Bedoya’s nomination. Tech policy organization Public Knowledge called him a “fierce advocate for consumer privacy” and applauded his work showing that surveillance and facial-recognition technology can have disparate impacts on people of color. Bedoya was one of the authors of a 2016 report on the use of facial-recognition technology by police departments and the risks posed to privacy and civil liberties.

“He’s blazed a trail in holding big tech accountable and has spent his career fighting on behalf of the powerless, particularly those in immigrant communities,” Charlotte Slaiman, Public Knowledge’s competition policy director, said in a statement.

Before joining Georgetown, Bedoya, a naturalized citizen born in Peru, was the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s privacy subcommittee, where he worked on matters involving mobile location privacy and biometrics and helped draft legislation, according to a biography on the school’s website.

Bedoya said on Twitter that it’s “the honor of my life” to be nominated.

Chopra is still awaiting Senate confirmation after his nomination moved out of the Senate Banking Committee in March on a split, party-line vote.

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