The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the mass amounts of data collected by big technology companies, like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, give them an edge over companies that don’t, and harms the growth of other companies.
FTC official Rohit Chopra said even though basic services from big tech companies are free to use, they have a different type of cost and are not really free because people inadvertently give away data about themselves, Reuters reported.
Chopra, who was against the $5 billion Facebook fine earlier this year, said financial penalties will never be enough to really make a difference in how Big Tech conducts itself, and that it’s up to regulators to look into the issues and make changes accordingly.
Big tech companies are the subject of several investigations by state and national organizations to see if they use their size to take advantage of smaller companies. Many politicians, including presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and President Donald Trump, have criticized the companies, and Warren has even asked for Big Tech to be broken up.
Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are making progress on their investigation and had received data from the companies to help with the probe.
The chair of the antitrust subcommittee, Rep. David Cicilline, said the committee got tens of thousands of documents from Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, and many more are expected.
Big Tech is also under investigation from the House Small Business Committee. Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez said she is going to ask Facebook, Google and Amazon to Washington, D.C., in either late October or early November to talk about whether or not they’re hurting small businesses with their practices.
“Chairwoman Velázquez believes that small businesses deserve to compete on a level playing field and hopes the hearing will be an opportunity for the committee to examine how small businesses are faring given the dominance of big tech companies in areas ranging from eCommerce to internet traffic,” said Evelyn Quartz, a spokeswoman for Velázquez.