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Biden tapped a prominent Google foe head up the Justice Department’s antitrust division

  • President Joe Biden has tapped a Google critic to head up the DOJ’s antitrust division. 
  • Progressive favorite Jonathan Kanter has reportedly represented Microsoft and Yelp in cases against Google.
  • Google is facing a tidal wave of regulatory scrutiny throughout the US and abroad. 

President Joe Biden is set to nominate a prominent critic of Google to head up the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

The Biden administration has made reining in the power of big tech firms a top priority, with the president recently signing a sweeping executive order telling federal agencies to scrutinize mergers more closely, and suggesting vaccine misinformation on Facebook was “killing people”, before walking back the criticism.

Jonathan Kanter, a well-known antitrust lawyer, looks set to join a crack team of tech critics moving through the hallways of the DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Economic Council. 

Kanter has a history of representing companies such as Yelp and Microsoft with antitrust complaints against Google, according to Bloomberg, and was said to be the candidate most favored by progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. 

“Jonathan Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with over 20 years of experience,” a White House press release stated. “Throughout his career, Kanter has also been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”

Kanter’s appointment looks to be bad news for Google, a tech behemoth which is facing mounting political pressure from all sides over allegations of anticompetitive behavior. 

Last month, US legislators unveiled five bipartisan bills to rein in the powers of big tech companies, marking an important milestone for a booming but historically-unregulated industry. 

Weeks later, dozens of US states have signed antitrust complaints highlighting Google’s online advertising practices, and bemoaning the tech giant’s control of the Android app store.

If his appointment is confirmed, Kanter would oversee the Justice Department’s current case against Google.

On Tuesday, former Google executive-turned-rival Sridhar Ramaswamy told Insider the company ought to be broken up in the interests of creating a more “level playing field.” 

“It is not right for one company to take the massive profits generated in one area to artificially prop up and achieve dominant positions in other completely unrelated areas,” he said. 

Insider approached Google for comment. 

Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email ([email protected]). Reach out using a nonwork device.

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