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Biden Names Google Critic Kanter as Justice Dept Antitrust Chief | Technology News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden nominated lawyer Jonathan Kanter as the Justice Department’s antitrust chief on Tuesday, with the White House calling him “a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement.”

Progressives who advocate for tougher enforcement of antitrust law have pushed for the nomination of Kanter, who recently started his own law firm. Kanter has spent years working for smaller rivals of Alphabet’s Google, which the Justice Department has sued.

The Biden administration previously chose two antitrust progressives with tech expertise, Tim Wu for the National Economic Council and Lina Khan to be a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

Kanter, who previously worked for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP and two other big law firms, will take the reins of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division amid calls for tougher enforcement of tech companies, especially Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Kanter could not immediately be reached for comment.

The department will likely play a key role in implementation of the Biden executive order that is aimed at promoting competition across the U.S. economy.

In addition to suing Google, the Justice Department is also probing Apple.

Among its many merger probes and other investigations, the department is investigating Visa over debit-card practices, and reviewing mergers like Penguin Random House’s purchase of Simon & Schuster.

The Federal Trade Commission shares the job of antitrust enforcement with the Justice Department.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Marguerita Choy)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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