The House Judiciary subcommittee’s recommendations released today represent the most comprehensive response from Congress to date on anti-competitive conduct in the tech sector. After a lengthy probe into industry giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, we are grateful to see bipartisan understanding of the problems posed by unchecked concentration in this sector, the recognition of how competition policy can improve, and the need for additional resources to enable the DOJ and FTC to enforce existing antitrust laws. We are even more encouraged to see proposals for legislative changes and increased oversight.
Until now, critical areas of the internet have remained unregulated and unchecked, requiring the sort of dedicated investigation that the report reflects. The potentially illegal market dominance of the largest technology platforms, as well as their social and political power, is seriously threatening our individual freedoms, workers’ rights, economies, and democracies. From widespread disinformation and discrimination against vulnerable groups, to questionable tactics to kill competition and pervasive surveillance practices; we have ample evidence that the status quo is creating adverse conditions for individuals and society at large.
The “Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets” Majority Staff Report and Recommendations from the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, is a thoughtful roadmap for legislative and regulatory action to reign in the power of big tech, protect Americans, and guide Congress’s work in the coming year. Democrats and Republicans agree that the dominant technology platforms have acquired monopoly power in their respective markets; federal agencies should have more resources for enforcement; interoperability and data portability should be mandated; and the burden of proof in merger cases should be shifted. Democrats go beyond, and propose to mandate structural separation between the technology platforms’ many business units, and the removal of certain barriers to private antitrust enforcement.
To better steward technology and shape the rules of the road for the future, we believe that all people—including those who use technology, or are directly affected by these companies’ business practices—should have a voice in how these platforms operate. Strong competition policy matched with strong oversight is as important to every entrepreneur looking to innovate and build THE next great company as it is to every household, every worker, and every voter.