This could be perceived as bad news for big tech firms.
It follows the appointment of Lina Khan, a longtime critic of big tech, as head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
CNBC writes that both Khan and Kanter’s roles would oversee prosecution of illegal monopolies, as well as put a stop to mergers deemed illegal.
Kanter’s resume includes representing anticompetitive complaints against Google on behalf of Yelp, Microsoft and others. Because of this experience, Google may ask for him to be removed from its ongoing antitrust case.
Kanter has also previously worked for a firm which represented companies like Amazon, Mastercard and Uber on antitrust issues. That may also mean he has to withdraw from cases involving those companies.
There will likely be petitions for his recusal based on his client representation and perceived conflicts from previous employers. But under an agreement between the FTC and DOJ, the DOJ would look into Apple cases while the FTC would be responsible for Amazon.
“For years, Jonathan Kanter has been a leader in the effort to increase antitrust enforcement against monopolies by federal, state, and international competition authorities,” Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust Chair Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in a statement. “His deep legal experience and history of advocating for aggressive action make him an excellent choice to lead the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.”
In early July, Biden signed an executive order giving several federal agencies the power to stop consolidation and look into how various companies use data. Several companies were directly singled out in the order, including Google, Apple and Amazon.