ANTITRUST

House To Unveil Big Tech Antitrust Probe Findings Early Next Year

David-Cicilline-big-tech-probe

The chair of the U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee David Cicilline (RI-D) said he anticipates having a final report in early 2020 about big technology companies and any breaches of antitrust law, Reuters reported on Friday (Oct. 19).

The committee is anticipating additional data in the first months of 2020, adding to stacks of information already received from Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, and Apple.

“Our hope is to conclude our evidence collection end of this year, beginning of next year with the idea that we will have a final report, instead of recommendations in the first part of next year,” Cicilline said to reporters at a Washington, D.C. hearing to discuss privacy, big technology and online competition.

Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Rohit Chopra participated in the hearing, joined by representatives from Harvard Kennedy School and the American Enterprise Institute.

Chopra said that big tech firms stifle rivals by accumulating private data, which gives them a competitive advantage.

He further told reporters that lawmakers have to examine the penalties handed down to big tech firms that are found to be in violation of laws.

Personal data is powering the dominance of tech companies that offer basic services for free, which are ultimately not free, Chopra added.

Investigations at the federal, state and congressional levels have been aimed at determining if big tech firms break competition law.

In September, the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee held the third hearing in a series touching on how data and privacy affect online marketplace competition. 

Cicilline said at the time that the subcommittee was focusing on larger tech firms and the economic power they might hold.  

Chopra has been critical of business practices from Google and Facebook and has argued that the recent big tech fines may do little to discourage corporate behavior. 

Regarding Google, he told NPR in early September, “The penalty is actually less than what they earned from illegally spying on kids. So, I worry that’s not a penalty. That’s an incentive.”

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