US antitrust department unveils nominee who has sued Google – and won

It was only a matter of time. After many years of work, #DeleteFacebook – like that of the Justice Department in “Watergate”- happened on the internet. Now, Senator Jerry Moran has selected an antitrust expert, Jonathan Kanter, as his nominee for the top US Justice Department position to monitor deals that his predecessor Orin Pai, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, gave thumbs up to. If confirmed, Kanter will replace Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust, who resigned in November in a blow to the Trump administration. Delrahim issued sharp rebukes to many high-profile tech companies on how they treat customers.

The Competition Bureau says Kanter is the first class-action litigator who has also worked as a legal expert for Google. He has also written on internet governance issues and law firm comparisons of different antitrust industries. Kanter also previously served as director of the New York Fed’s Corporate Antitrust Center.

While the New York Fed would seem like a place where Kanter would dig deep into antitrust practice, his legal experience at Google and The New York Fed suggested him to be a strong candidate for the antitrust role, and it seems likely that the Trump administration and the antitrust office decided that Kanter was the best choice.

There is definitely interest in breaking up tech. “The administration,” said Kanter at his nomination hearing, “has the opportunity at this point to have a serious debate in the United States about the monopoly power that technology is giving to some of these big companies.” He continued: “The Department of Justice has to do its job of investigating and overseeing competitive markets to make sure that harm is not being caused.”

He added: “Although there is a real probability, I believe very, very strongly, that law enforcement will be right in terms of their ability to go after monopolies where they need to be addressed. But we also need to have a serious debate about: ‘Do we want to displace Amazon? Should we displace Google?’ And in my estimation, we need to have that kind of debate.”

While consumers use our services to do just about everything else, internet monopoly is not only bad for us consumers, it’s also bad for people who are trying to get economic power – and it’s bad for everyone who lives in a democratic society and is subject to abuse from just about anyone.

Leave a Comment