LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Big Tech has a new top regulator in Washington. And it's one of the industry's fiercest critics. President Biden, on Tuesday, named Lina Khan chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission shortly after her Senate confirmation. The announcement has put Silicon Valley on edge.
More from NPR's Bobby Allyn.
BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Not long ago, 32-year-old Lina Khan was an obscure academic. In 2017, while still a student at Yale Law School, she wrote a paper about Amazon that quickly changed that. Khan said, Amazon's practices are predatory and that the company got so big because U.S. competition laws are broken. Some called that view hipster antitrust.
BILL KOVACIC: She challenged an orthodoxy with others, built a new community that has changed the debate.
ALLYN: That's Bill Kovacic. He's the former chair of the FTC. He says having someone like Khan ready to review Silicon Valley's mergers, privacy practices and control of markets is not good news for Big Tech.
KOVACIC: They never saw this coming. I would guess that the level of anxiety within that community increased dramatically over the last 24 hours.
ALLYN: Tech industry lobbyists say Khan will be bad for innovation and consumers. Khan is forging ahead. At her April confirmation hearing, she pointed to one area of interest, Big Tech's reliance on our data.
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LINA KHAN: I worry that, in some cases, some of these companies may think it's just worth the cost of business to actually violate privacy laws.
ALLYN: Kovacic says the biggest hurdle for Khan's agenda may be surviving challenges in the courts.
Bobby Allyn, NPR News, San Francisco.
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