Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) today released a new proposal to “overhaul” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming the agency “lacks teeth.”
CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said:
“The FTC’s problem with investigations into big tech is less about insufficient resources and more about data gathering and privacy concerns not being established antitrust law. These investigations are the direct result of political pressure, not legitimate consumer harm. If the FTC and Department of Justice are having a turf-war over which of the four companies in the same sector they will investigate, that’s a pretty clear sign that there isn’t anything close to a monopoly. The facts are that Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple all vigorously compete with one another in several sub-sectors of the tech space from advertising, to messaging, to data storage, and hardware.
“Senator Hawley’s proposal also focuses on the collection of consumer data. Collecting data from consumers who voluntarily use these platforms in order to better serve them is the opposite of consumer harm. If the mere act of aggregating endless amounts of information about Americans is what Senator Hawley finds problematic, his time and energy would be better spent trying to shrink the government’s role in our lives— the opposite of virtually all of his proposals in the tech space.”