Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina M. Khan announced several new additions to the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning. Olivier Sylvain, Meredith Whittaker, Amba Kak, and Sarah Myers West will be working with the agency’s Chief Technology Officer and technologists as part of an informal AI Strategy Group and in partnership with policy experts across the agency to provide insight and advice on emerging technology issues. John Kwoka will be working with competition economists and attorneys on an updated approach to merger review policies.
“At this critical time for the agency, I’m thrilled to welcome to the FTC several new additions: Amba Kak, John Kwoka, Sarah Myers West, Olivier Sylvain, and Meredith Whittaker,” said Chair Lina M. Khan. “Tackling unlawful conduct requires that we ensure our law enforcement and policy work are keeping pace with new market realities. These leaders in tech and economic policy will work alongside experts within the FTC and my office to help us realize that goal.”
Olivier Sylvain will serve as Senior Advisor on Technology to the Chair. Sylvain joins the FTC from Fordham University where he has served as Professor of Law. An expert on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, his areas of scholarship include administrative law, information law, U.S. data protection and privacy law, and other information-economy related matters. At Fordham, he has been the Director of the McGannon Center for Communications Research, the Academic Director of the Center for Law and Information Policy, and a research affiliate at the Center on Race, Law, and Justice. Sylvain was also a Karpatkin Fellow in the National Legal Office of the American Civil Liberties Union and a litigation associate at Jenner & Block, LLC. He is a graduate of Williams College, holds a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, and earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University.
John Kwoka will serve as Chief Economist to the Chair. John joins us from Northeastern University where he is the Neal F. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Economics. Kwoka has published widely, with his recent scholarship focusing on ways to update and strengthen merger policy and other aspects of antitrust. Kwoka has previously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and George Washington University, and has had visiting positions at Northwestern University and Harvard University. He has lectured and consulted widely in the areas of industrial and competition policy and has published more than 85 research and policy papers on economic issues. Kwoka has previously served at the Federal Trade Commission, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, and the Federal Communications Commission. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics, University of Pennsylvania, and an A.B. in Economics from Brown University.
Meredith Whittaker will serve as Senior Advisor on Artificial Intelligence to the Chair. Whittaker joins the FTC from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering where she has served as Faculty Director of the AI Now Institute and the Minderoo Research Professor. Her work has focused on critically examining the intersection of technology and policy, including the political economy of artificial intelligence and companies that develop and profit from it. She founded Google’s Open Research Group, and co-founded M-Lab, a globally distributed network measurement platform that provides the world’s largest source of open data on internet performance. She has over 15 years of experience in tech, and has advised the White House, the Federal Communications Commission, the City of New York, and many other governments on artificial intelligence and related issues. She holds an A.B. in Rhetoric and English Literature from Berkeley.
Amba Kak will serve as a Senior Advisor on Artificial Intelligence. Kak joins the FTC from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering where she has served as the Director of Global Policy at the AI Now Institute. Having worked in multiple jurisdictions, Amba brings comparative global expertise to policy issues. Her recent research has focused on algorithmic accountability and biometric regulation. Previously, she was the Global Policy Advisor at Mozilla where she helped develop the organization’s policy positions on network neutrality and data privacy regulation, among others. Amba has a Master’s in Law (BCL) and an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar.
Sarah Myers West will serve as a Senior Advisor on Artificial Intelligence. Myers West joins the FTC from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering where she has served as Research Scholar at the AI Now Institute. Her research examines the intersection of technology, labor, and platform accountability, as well as the history and political economy of the tech industry. She has testified before the NYC City Council and has been invited to present her research at venues such as the National Science Policy Network, Internet Governance Forum, and National Human Genome Research Institute, among others. Myers West received her doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and holds Master’s Degrees in Communication and Public Diplomacy.
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