On Wednesday, the Senate voted to approve Alvaro Bedoya as a member of the Federal Trade Commission.
This paves the way for Democrats to reclaim a majority at the agency and continue working toward their lofty technology and antitrust objectives.
We have confirmed Alvaro Bedoya to serve as FTC Commissioner!
This brings the FTC back to full strength to enforce antitrust protections and consumer privacy, and fight price gougers.
This is pivotal to fully examining record energy company profits and inflated gas prices.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 12, 2022
With Bedoya, a well-known privacy advocate and law professor at Georgetown University, Democrats will have a three to two advantage in commission votes.
This will concern the control of big tech companies and issues related to antitrust, data protection, and security.
Investigation Into Oil and Gas Firms
Bedoya may also play a significant role in encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation against oil and gas firms.
These are the firms the Democrat Party claims are unfairly exploiting consumers by charging exorbitant prices for gasoline.
The Senate reached a tie vote along political lines with a score of 50-50. Democrats used Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.
JUST IN: Vice President Kamala Harris just cast the tie-breaking vote confirming Alvaro Bedoya— Democrats now have a majority on the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers and crack down on Big Oil price gouging. Every Republican voted against him.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) May 11, 2022
Republicans are opposed to Bedoya’s candidacy because they believe he is a left-wing activist who made public statements in which he criticizes the police.
Bedoya, who was initially nominated about nine months ago, is joining the agency during a time when there is widespread antagonism toward large technology giants, such as Facebook and Google.
This is due to the data-gathering activities of these businesses and the way they handle the privacy of their users.
“I’ve been trying to think about confidentiality, not in terms of data, but rather in terms of people.”
“These are actual individuals who are being harmed in the real world,” Bedoya mentioned during his confirmation hearing before the Senate. “I’ve tried to work across the aisle to support them,” Bedoya added.
Privacy and Data
Liberals believe the agenda of the Biden administration was harmed by the delay in confirming Bedoya.
This also gave big tech corporations a temporary pass for unethical activity since the Federal Trade Commission was paralyzed by inaction.
Bedoya has been at the vanguard of studies into how facial recognition software and other monitoring tools have already been used.
They’ve been used by the state and technology corporations to discriminate against immigrants and members of minority groups.
Bedoya may focus on enhancing the privacy of customer data.
FTC chair, Lina Khan, has already given indications that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will investigate data privacy as both a consumer right and a competition issue.
The FTC will likely investigate data privacy issues in light of the news that Roe v. Wade may be overturned.
This ought to give the giant IT corporations, the majority of whose power stems from the data that they gather, cause for concern.
In the past, he served as a member of Sen. Al Franken’s (Democrat of Minnesota) staff on the subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was responsible for privacy, technology, and the law.