Alvaro Bedoya, privacy expert and President Joe Biden’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) nominee, was confirmed in a Senate vote Wednesday, 51-50. Vice President Kamala Harris broke the split to bring Bedoya into the FTC.
In a statement, Bedoya said he was “deeply grateful” for the trust placed in him and “thrilled to be working with Federal Trade Commission officials.”
After an eight-month vacancy, Bedoya gives the Democrats a majority in the commission. Bedoya was tapped by Biden in September, but his nomination stalled. After canceled hearings and votes last year, Biden reappointed Bedoya earlier this year. He was sent to a final Senate vote yesterday after making it out of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“Alvaro Bedoya’s confirmation to the FTC couldn’t come soon enough,” Evan Greer, director of digital rights group Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “His expertise in the areas of privacy and human rights is badly needed, and as Congress falters, it’s important that the FTC act quickly to address harms such as data collection, algorithmic discrimination and biometric surveillance.”
Bedoya rounds out Biden’s FTC, which has grappled with Big Tech on numerous issues. The FTC has already signaled its plans for major privacy reforms, which are likely to face stiff opposition from the big tech companies.
Biden had previously nominated and confirmed Lina Khan, a major tech critic, for the FTC.
“Americans face increasing threats in the digital ecosystem, and the FTC must focus on protecting the public online from tampering and invasion of privacy,” Sen. Ed Markey (D) said in a statement. “With a slew of commissioners now, the FTC must act quickly and boldly to use the full extent of its powers to protect consumers, particularly in communities of color and other marginalized communities who are suffering disproportionate harm both online and offline. Mr Bedoya is ready to take on these challenges and I look forward to working with him and the whole Commission.”
Stakeholders were quick to praise Bedoya’s endorsement.
“The appointment of Alvaro Bedoya will finally allow this vital and revitalized agency to get to work protecting people, encouraging competition and holding powerful corporations to account,” said Craig Aaron, co-CEO of Free Press, in a statement. “He has devoted his career to protecting people’s privacy from predatory data brokers and upholding everyone’s rights to equal opportunities. Bedoya knows how to protect internet users from the worst harms from tech companies like Google and Meta. In particular, we look forward to working with him and the other FTC officers in efforts to eliminate abuses of extractive and discriminatory data.”
Aaron added that the fight isn’t over, as Biden’s Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn still faces an uphill battle — which has been as difficult as Bedoya’s — on her path to confirmation.
“Now we urge the Senate to fill other key regulatory roles that have been vacant since President Biden took office — beginning with a vote as soon as possible to confirm Gigi Sohn as FCC commissioner,” he said. “An industry-backed smear campaign aimed at weakening the FCC has stymied the progress of Sohn’s nomination for more than six months. Any further delay will only hurt government priorities and leave media, technology and telecom companies without critical oversight and accountability.”
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*Initial publication: May 12, 2022 10:16 am CDT
Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/alvaro-bedoya-confirmed-senate-ftc/ Biden FTC finally selects Alvaro Bedoya for Senate confirmation