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US: FTC letter to DOJ raises concerns over Big Tech probes

 |  September 16, 2019

US antitrust regulators investigating the giants of the tech industry are at odds over recent probes. This was made clear by the way of  the delivery of a letter from the FTC to the DOJ recently, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s antitrust division both assert authority to investigate whether US companies are violating antitrust law by squeezing out competition. According to the Journal, in recent months, the two entities, as well as a number of state attorneys general, have launched high-profile scrutiny of tech giants such as Alphabet’s Google and Facebook  that have come to dominate nearly every aspect of Americans’ digital lives.

In a letter obtained by the Journal, sent late last week to the Justice Department, the FTC complained about the department’s behavior and raised concerns about recent interactions between the two agencies, according to people familiar with the matter.

The previously undisclosed letter, signed by FTC Chairman Joe Simons, raises the prospect that a longstanding power-sharing agreement between the agencies is fraying. It is also raising broader concerns that the boiling tension could eventually derail the agencies’ focus on so-called Big Tech, among the biggest and most significant undertakings that either of them has conducted in years.

The chairman of the Senate subcommittee on antitrust matters, Republican Mike Lee of Utah, said he plans to ask about the letter and the tensions it reflects at a hearing Tuesday. Both Mr. Simons and DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim are expected to testify.
“Sen. Lee is aware of the letter and he intends to inquire at tomorrow’s oversight hearing about whether the clearance process between the agencies is working and, if not, whether the FTC and DOJ are engaging in duplicative investigations,” a Lee spokesman said on Monday. That clearance process, a longstanding arrangement between the two agencies, helps determine which of them investigates particular areas.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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