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US: Ohio Senate hearing looks into antitrust violations from Big Tech

 |  October 29, 2019

Ohio lawmakers held their second hearing into whether tech giants such as Google and Facebook are engaged in anticompetitive behaviors that harm consumers or violate antitrust laws.

On Monday, October 28, at the University of Cincinnati, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from legal experts and representatives from interested parties. Committee members heard from parties which that claimed that more regulation is necessary to prevent big tech from controlling content as well as those who argued that statewide regulations could actually harm the marketplace.

Professor Felix Chang, the co-director of the Corporate Law Center at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, told the Committee that a person in a rural area will not often have access to more than one or two potential internet service providers. Because of the lack of options, a company may be able to run a monopoly that determines the type of content a person can access.

As an example, Chang noted that the Comcast-Time Warner merger could slow access to Google because the company holds stock in Hulu. This, he said, would benefit their company by gutting access to an opponent’s service.

David Chaver, the president and CEO of News Media Alliance, warned that the growth of big tech is a threat to the news industry. Tech giants, he said, follow algorithms that can suppress brands, control data, or refuse to recognize quality journalism.

Print newspaper circulation is dropping significantly, and many small newspapers are going out of business, Chavern said. He said the unprecedented control coming from tech giants has made it difficult for any news outlet to build a sustainable business model.

Full Content: The Cleveland American

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