House Antitrust Chair Says Congress Must Rein In Big Tech

Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the House antitrust panel, is expected to deliver recommendations by next month in the investigation he’s leading into how Big Tech titans could be reined in when it comes to antitrust cases, Bloomberg reported.

Cicilline, in an interview on Wednesday (Aug. 26), said Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have been abusing their power on the market to beat out smaller competitors. As such, he said he thinks the impetus falls to Congress to do something about it.

“The kind of common theme is the abuse of their market power to maintain their market dominance, to crush competitors, to exclude folks from their platform and to earn monopoly rents,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

His next step will be finding a way to compromise with Republicans on exactly how to do this. He said he would be pursuing “the biggest, boldest ideas” he can muster. One such idea is what he described as a Glass-Steagall for tech giants, referencing the Depression-era law which separated commercial and investment banking. It was repealed during the President Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s.

For tech giants, the law would likely involve some type of prohibition from running a platform and competing on it at the same time, Bloomberg reported. Cicilline didn’t specifically recommend that course of action but said it was worth consideration.

Cicilline said it is the intention of the House antitrust panel to issue a report as soon as September that will address four general areas: changes to existing antitrust laws passed over 100 years ago; reforms aimed at the tech sector specifically; strengthening private antitrust legislation; and making sure antitrust watchdogs have the resources to do their jobs as well as possible.

Antitrust complaints have been widely publicized as of late, with the Department of Justice moving forward on its probe into the same complaints as Cicilline had about the tech giants. Attorney General Jeff Rosen said the investigation is “going full-tilt” and called it “a major priority.”

The four tech giants didn’t respond to Bloomberg for comment, the news outlet reported.