House lawmakers on Friday introduced sweeping antitrust legislation aimed at restraining the power of Big Tech and staving off corporate consolidation across the economy, in what would be the most ambitious update to monopoly laws in decades.
The bills — five in total — take direct aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google and their grip on online commerce, information and entertainment. The proposals would make it easier to break up businesses that use their dominance in one area to get a stronghold in another, would create new hurdles for acquisitions of nascent rivals, and would empower regulators with more funds to police companies.
“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy. They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers and put folks out of work,” said Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and chairman of the antitrust subcommittee. “Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”
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Bills that could force Big Tech breakups unveiled in House
A group of House lawmakers put forward a sweeping legislative package Friday that could curb the market power of Big Tech companies and force Facebook, Google, Amazon or Apple to sever their dominant platforms from their other lines of business.
The bipartisan proposals are the culmination of a 15-month investigation by the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, led by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island. It concluded that the four tech giants have abused their market power by charging excessive fees, imposing tough contract terms and extracting valuable data from individuals and businesses that rely on them.
“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Cicilline said in a statement. “They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers and put folks out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”