Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is introducing a new, Big Tech-targeted, antitrust bill that would block anticompetitive mergers, toughen antitrust enforcement and seek civil fines and forfeitures.
Talking about the bill on CNBC Thursday (Feb. 4), Klobuchar, incoming head of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, said the GameStop/Reddit stock manipulation story was another example of the enormous power of Big Tech platforms and she was glad it was being looked into.
She said for too long, Big Tech has pushed against any rules of the road, saying "just trust us," but that that hasn't worked for people who have had their personal information "spit out all over the place" or for victims of misinformation. She said there also needed to be some rules of the road for privacy, which if past is prologue is much easier said than done.
She said that was why there needed to be new rules of the road for antitrust as well as privacy and that it was not good for competition if you have big companies like Google "that can control the gateways of things.
Klobuchar argued her bill was aimed at a conservative principle, which was capitalism and competition in the marketplace. She invoked Adam Smith on the "overgrown market of monopolies" and said it was time for some checking and balancing.
It won't be the first time Klobuchar has introduced legislation to get at Edge Giant market power, but a Democratic House and Senate could mean more success this time around.
She said antitrust has not kept up with the marketplace.
Klobuchar concedes getting at misinformation requires a different set of rules, but that competition rules would not just apply to tech mergers. But she said what they have in common is that when you squelch competitors, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's e-mail about nascent competitors was exhibit A, you squelch innovation.
Asked if she was looking to break up the companies or just prevent them from buying up, she said she was looking for resources so the law was not being enforced with Band-Aids and duct tape
She said she did want to punish success, but she also said bad things were happening and there needed to be remedies and resources to address that.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.