Washington Times: Big Tech companies will be targeted in Democrats’ antitrust overhaul

September 1, 2020 Media

House Democrats are preparing their proposals to overhaul antitrust laws so that lawmakers can easily dismantle Big Tech companies, namely Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said his panel’s report on smashing Big Tech’s power will recommend “rehabilitating” antitrust laws, which may involve “creating a Glass-Steagall regime for platforms or mandating data portability and interoperability.” The Glass-Steagall Act in 1933 forced the separation of commercial and investment banks, and House Democrats want to take a similar approach to social media platforms and the data collected by tech companies.

“Our investigation has uncovered these dominant platforms increasingly used their gatekeeper power in abusive and coercive ways,” the Rhode Island Democrat told 40 liberal groups he met with Tuesday to preview his recommendations and strategize next steps. “They charge extortionary fees and impose oppressive contracts, they’ve engaged in anti-competitive strategies to protect their power, killing, copying or acquiring any potential competitors.”

Sarah Miller, American Economic Liberties Project executive director who helped organize the meeting, said the coming overhaul needs to represent a “fundamental shift in the way that Congress, policymakers and enforcers think about their relationship vis a vis concentrated, corporate power.”

“Congress is reasserting its authority against concentrated private power, and it couldn’t come a moment sooner,” Ms. Miller said.