The Department Of Justice Supports A Senate Bill To Regulate Technology Platforms

The US Justice Department has backed legislation that would prevent large technology platforms such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Inc. from giving their own products preferential consideration at the expense of competitors. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Peter Hyun, acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said the department “views the rise of dominant platforms as posing a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy.” In a letter acquired by Bloomberg News, Hyun continued, “Discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms can suck the rewards from other innovators and entrepreneurs, diminishing the incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

He lauded the Senate’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act, as well as a House counterpart bill. “We believe that if passed, this legislation has the potential to have a beneficial influence on dynamism in digital marketplaces moving forward,” Hyun added. The Biden administration’s support is the first time it has placed its weight behind legislation aimed at reining in the tech behemoths. Late Monday night, the Justice Department declined to comment on the letter. The letter was sent to the panel’s chairman, Dick Durbin, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both Democrats, as well as Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Lee of Utah, according to the Wall Street Journal. President Joe Biden has appointed skeptics of the internet industry’s expanding market clout to important posts, including Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Kanter as the antitrust chief of the Justice Department. He also signed a broad executive order aimed at boosting competition across the United States’ economy.

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The White House hosted a meeting in January with opponents of technology platforms as well as representatives from smaller digital businesses. The plan, which is co-sponsored by Klobuchar and Grassley, has sparked heated criticism from big U.S. technology corporations, who claim it will hurt consumer-friendly products. The proposal would make it illegal for dominant platforms to give their own products, such as Google Maps and Apple Music, a competitive edge.

The bill would make it illegal for firms to exploit data to harm competitors by favoring them in search results or restricting how other services utilize their platforms. The bill is similar to a House measure that tech companies have said would jeopardize user security and make it more difficult for customers to use services they value.


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