In the year and change that Rohit Chopra has served on the Federal Trade Commission, he’s quickly emerged as one of Big Tech’s biggest skeptics.
Chopra was one of two commissioners to vote against the FTC’s $170 million fine on Google and $5 billion fine of Facebook, claiming the record penalties aren’t nearly enough to rein in the unwieldy technology industry.
Chopra will explain why he’s broken form with his colleagues on the FTC and provide an update on tech’s antitrust crackdown at the GeekWire Summit Oct. 8. Tickets are on sale here.
In an interview with CNBC this week, Chopra explained why he’s taking a hard line on tech.
“We’re not going to solve some of these problems just by small-time fines that aren’t going to change the underlying business model of these firms,” he said. “We actually have to take a hard look at whether these behemoths are killing off innovation and competition.”
Before joining the FTC, Chopra helped launch the Department of the Treasury’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He served as assistant director of the organization, where his work focused on student loan abuses.
Chopra’s work as a regulator is also informed by experience in the private sector. He worked for McKinsey & Company, focusing on the consumer tech, financial services, and healthcare sectors.
Today, Chopra and his colleagues on the FTC are reportedly investigating Facebook and Amazon for potential antitrust law violations. It’s part of a broader inquiry into Big Tech, led by the FTC, Justice Department, and 50 U.S. states and territories.
“There are some serious questions about whether some of the biggest firms in the world are surpassing competition or are they playing fair,” Chopra told CNBC. “We have to act if we see that they’re breaking the law.”