Big Tech critic Tim Wu joins the Biden administration to work on competition policy


Timothy Wu, a professor of law at Columbia University, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | fake images

Big Tech critic and antitrust hawk Tim Wu joins the Biden administration to work on technology and competition policy at the National Economic Council, he said. Announced on Friday.

The hiring indicates that the Biden administration is serious about competition policy and will likely be viewed favorably among progressives who hope to see increased enforcement of antitrust laws, especially against tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Wu’s writing has played an important role in advancing the idea that major tech companies should split up to reinvigorate competition, particularly through his 2018 book, “The Curse of Greatness: Antitrust in the New Age. golden “.

Wu has helped shape some of the most important debates about technology in the last decade. He coined the term “net neutrality” to describe the idea that Internet service providers should not discriminate between different types of online communication. The Federal Communications Commission established a net neutrality rule under Obama that was reversed under the next administration, although Biden’s FCC could resurrect the rule again.

Wu recently taught antitrust law at Columbia University and previously worked in the New York attorney general’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the NEC under President Barack Obama.

However, Biden has yet to fill top antitrust enforcement positions in his administration. His elections to the FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division will solidify the idea that he is ready to crack down on, or undermine, tech companies and the concentration of power. News reports on Biden’s potential choices for those roles have ran the gamut between progressives aligned with Wu’s views on competition and those who have gone on to work with or advise the tech companies themselves, whom critics fear they are being too lenient with them.

Improving regulation of tech companies has been a rare unifying theme among Democrats and Republicans for the past several years. When House Democrats released their lengthy report last year on alleged anti-competitive conduct by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, several key Republicans said they agreed with the report’s main allegations, if not the legislative changes. Exact proposals that it included.

It has also been a common thread between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, under which the Department of Justice and the FTC filed antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook, respectively. The Biden administration is expected to continue with those demands and could even expand their reach.

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