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A month after Google settlement, FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz announces his resignation

jon liebowitz (FTC)

Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz is resigning later this month. The chairman tells The New York Times that he expects to head to the private sector to focus on competition policy and privacy.

Leibowitz’s FTC recently concluded a nearly two-year antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices. The case culminated in a commitment from Google to stop scraping competitors’ sites for review content, but stopped short of including a binding consent order; a settlement that was criticized both within the FTC and by Google’s competitors for its (perceived) leniency.

Leibowitz pushed for privacy

During his two terms as chairman, Leibowitz pushed for privacy through initiatives like the W3C’s stalled Do Not Track specification and moves to stop robocalls. He was also an outspoken opponent of tech firms using standards-essential patents as leverage to extract higher rates from licensees.

Leibowitz's departure was widely anticipated, but it's still unknown who President Obama favors to succeed him as chairman. Democratic FTC commissioners Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez are thought to be front runners. On his reasons for leaving the job, Leibowitz told The Times, "I felt like this was a good time to leave because we got through a number of things that I wanted the commission to address."

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