President Biden made his latest nomination to the Federal Trade Commission this week, tapping digital privacy expert Alvaro Bedoya to join the agency as it takes a hard look at the tech industry.
Bedoya is the founding director of Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown’s Law School and formerly served as chief counsel for former Senator Al Franken and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law. Bedoya has worked on legislation addressing some of the most pressing privacy issues in technology, including stalkerware and facial recognition systems.
In 2016, Bedoya co-authored a report titled “Title”.The Perpetual Line-up: Unruly Police Face Recognition in AmericaThe 2016 report, a year-long investigation into police use of facial recognition systems in the US, examined law enforcement’s reliance on facial recognition systems and biometric databases at the state level. It argued that the technology was imperative. There is a dire need for regulations to reduce potential abuse and algorithmic failures before the form becomes even more common.
Bedoya is also not shy about calling out Big Tech. one in A New York Times op-ed a few years ago, he took the aim of publicly giving user privacy lip service to Silicon Valley companies, while quietly funneling millions toward lobbyists to undermine consumer privacy. The new FTC nominee specifically picked Facebook, pointing to the company’s efforts to weaken the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, a state law that serves as the only meaningful check on aggressive privacy practices in the US. Is.
Bedoya argued that the tech industry would have an easier time shaping a single, comprehensive piece of privacy regulation with its lobbying efforts rather than a flurry of targeted, smaller bills. Antitrust advocates in Congress are taking aim at technology today to learn the same lesson.
“We cannot underestimate the power of the technical sector in the Congress and state legislatures,” Bedoya wrote. “If the United States attempts to pass comprehensive regulations for personal data, that effort may well be chosen by Silicon Valley, and we will miss our best shot at meaningful privacy protections.”
If confirmed, Bedoya will join Big Tech critic Lena Khan, a recent Biden FTC nominee, who now chairs the agency. Khan’s focus on antitrust and Amazon in particular will focus on Bedoya’s impending privacy concerns, making the pair a formidable regulatory presence as the Biden administration seeks to rein in some of the tech industry’s most damaging excesses.