Biden taps privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya for FTC

In a statement the White House said, President Joe Biden will nominate Georgetown University law professor, a privacy advocate, to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

“It is the honor of my life to be nominated to serve on the FTC. When my family landed at JFK in 1987 with 4 suitcases and a grad student stipend, this was not what we expected,” tweeted Alvaro Bedoya.

Incidentally, Bedoya, is the founding director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology; he is also a former chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law.

The FTC post requires Senate confirmation.

In its statement, the White House praised Bedoya for his work exposing the harms of facial recognition technology, which led to restrictions on its use and audits to ferret out biases in the systems.

In 2019, in a lecture at the University of New Mexico, Bedoya called privacy “a civil right.”

“At its heart, privacy is about human dignity: Whether the government feels it can invade your dignity, and whether the government feels it has to protect the most sensitive, most intimate facts of your life,” said Bedoya.

In 2017, in a newspaper opinion Bedoya said, the untargeted use of facial recognition technology creates “profound questions about the future of our society.” He has been very skeptical of its widespread usage. In the article, Bedoya also notes that the software often makes mistakes, particularly when searching for the faces of African Americans, women and young people.

If confirmed, Bedoya would step into the post currently held by Rohit Chopra, whom Biden nominated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – a political lightning rod since its creation after the 2009 financial crisis.

Born in Peru, Bedoya is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

In a tweet, FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips, a Republican, said, Bedoya “would bring a bright and thoughtful voice and a depth of experience working across the aisle on privacy to the FTC.”

Categories: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Regulations & Legal, Strategy

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