Law Street Media

House Reps. Unveil Laws Aimed at Curbing Big Tech’s Dominance

The United States Capitol at sunset after rain.

The US Capitol Building at dusk.

Last Friday, the House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee announced its intention to  rein in tech industry’s most powerful entities and level the playing field for smaller businesses and startups. According to the press release, Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Ken Buck (R-Colo.) spearheaded the bipartisan legislative agenda to enhance consumer, worker, and small business owner opportunity in technology by “holding unregulated Big Tech monopolies accountable for anti-competitive conduct.”

The legislative plans follow the House’s investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google’s dominance, which culminated last October with a scathing report concluding that their market mastery poses an antitrust problem.

The five-bill package announced last week, entitled “A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, Choice,” consists of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which, if enacted will ban discriminatory conduct by ascendant platforms, including a prohibition on self-preferencing and “picking winners and losers online.”

The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act will reportedly end acquisitions of competitive threats by dominant platforms, in addition to acquisitions that “expand or entrench” online platforms’ market power. The proposed Ending Platform Monopolies Act stops dominant platforms from using their control in various overlapping fields to unfairly self-preference and disadvantage competitors.

House members’ proposed Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act is set to foster competition online by “lowering barriers to entry and switching costs for businesses and consumers through interoperability and data portability requirements.” Finally, the proposed  Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update merger filing fees for the first time in 20 years to ensure that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have the resources necessary to “aggressively enforce the antitrust laws.”

The bills will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee, the press release stated.

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