Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled that states had a right to collect sales taxes from Internet retails - a ruling that was interpreted as a shot across Amazon's bow - a prominent Amazon critic has joined the staff of the Federal Trade Commission, suggesting that the major anti-trust action that media pundits described as a "long shot" could very well happen. According to Bloomberg, the FTC has hired Lina Khan, the director of legal policy at Washington think tank Open Markets Institute, who will serve as a legal fellow for the next few months for FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the agency prepares to "increase anti-trust scrutiny of technology firms."
Khan has gained widespread notoriety thanks to her trenchant criticisms of Amazon. As a student at Yale Law School, she wrote a paper for the Yale Law Journal entitled "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox", in which she argued that the modern anti-trust enforcement framework isn't equipped to challenge Amazon's dominance and the harm it poses to competition. Her work was cited by the head of the DOJ's antitrust division in a speech in April as an example of "fresh thinking" about how the DOJ can hold digital platforms accountable. Khan has appeared on panels to argue her view that Amazon and other technology giants in the online retail space threaten competitive markets.