US lawmakers, suspicious of big tech, propose overhaul of antitrust law

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Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – June 12, 2021): US lawmakers on Friday unveiled sweeping antitrust measures aimed at challenging the dominance of big tech companies, including Apple and Facebook, in what may be the most ambitious effort for decades to break corporate monopolies.

A bipartisan group of House members introduced five separate bills that propose major changes to national competition laws.

If adopted, they would make it harder for mega-companies like Amazon and Google to buy out smaller competitors and facilitate the break-up of companies that use their dominant position in their core business to gain a deep foothold in another. .

“Right now, unregulated technology monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Judicial Chamber antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicillin, a Democrat, said as the measures were introduced.

“They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise consumer prices and put people out of work.” The goal, he said, is to “level the playing field” and make sure powerful tech companies follow the same rules as other companies.

One of the bills increases merger fees so that regulators have more funds to aggressively monitor companies and enforce antitrust laws.

“Big Tech has abused its dominance in the market to crush its competitors, censor speech and control how we see and understand the world,” said House Republican Ken Buck, who has targeted some of the biggest actors.

“Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google have prioritized power over innovation and have hurt American businesses and consumers in the process.” The reform effort comes against a backdrop of scrutiny of major tech platforms that have increased their dominance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, US and federal antitrust authorities filed lawsuits against Facebook and Google, alleging illegal domination of their respective markets.

And last month, Amazon was the subject of an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. capital Washington, claiming the tech giant is abusing its dominant position in online retail, harming consumers.

Google did not provide immediate comment on the proposed legislation.

But the Computer & Communications Industry Association, of which Google, Amazon and Facebook are members, has warned that the legislation could mark the biggest departure from U.S. antitrust policy in more than a century.

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