David Cicilline, a Congressman representing Rhode Island, is looking to pursue more regulation for giant tech companies like Google and Facebook. The objective of the regulation would be to bring more competition to the industry, which is dominated by those companies.
Lawmakers to Approach Regulation With an Open Mind
The Democratic Congressman told Fox News on Sunday that the lawmakers are aiming to roll out legislation that would provide more regulation for the big technology companies. However, they would be approaching the regulation with an open mind.
According to the Cicilline who leads an antitrust investigation of the tech sector, the investigation is aimed at gathering the best data and information from the industry. The House Antitrust, Commercial & Administrative Law Subcommittee, which is also headed by Cicilline, is ready to hold its first hearing regarding the dominance of the big technology companies.
The hearing which is slated for tomorrow, June 11, could lead to the legislation of the giant tech firms. Cicilline stated that the primary objective is to bring more competition to the tech industry.
He told CNN in a separate interview a few days ago that the investigation will cover the entire marketplace, look at the monopoly in the sector, and figure out how to ensure that the market is working as it should.
The giant tech firms have been engrossed in controversies over the past few years. Although they provide platforms for consumers to carry out various activities, the companies gather users’ data and sell it to third parties such as advertising companies, political parties, and other interested snoopers.
The sale of consumer data to third-party ventures has led to controversies, with the most famous one being that of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm that had ties which assisted the election campaign of the current US President Donald Trump.
Cicilline pointed out that the data collected from consumers is used to generate revenue. According to a source familiar with the situation, the committee hearing will be an active one as a newspaper trade group, and consumer advocates are set to testify about the effects of digital platforms on news media entities. They will also testify on the anti-competitive activities of the big tech companies and whether the current laws are enough for the marketplace.
US Government Investigates Big Tech Companies on Multiple Fronts
The dominance and antitrust issues surrounding big tech companies are being investigated on multiple fronts by the United States government. Asides the lawmakers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Justice Department both indicated recently that they are looking to launch formal investigations that would look into the antitrust supervision of tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and Apple.
Cicilline recently told Bloomberg that as more companies venture into the digital markets space, it has resulted in privacy breaches, anti-competitive behavior, and consumers losing control of their data. Thus, his subcommittee will request for company records and collect testimonies from company officials via hearings and depositions.
There are calls to break up the giant tech companies such as Facebook as they are deemed to be becoming too big and powerful. Senator Elizabeth Warren has been actively calling out for this move and provided a detailed case for such action.