President Biden prepares series of measures to prevent technology companies from having more power

This decade is marked by legislative measures and investigations against technology companies within the “Big Tech” category. A recent New York Times report indicates that President Joe Biden will announce a series of measures that will strengthen federal agencies in their regulatory role against companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google that continue to grow through aggressive mergers and access to data of millions of users with these operations.


The report indicates a series of orders that will impact the regulation of business in these companies, the use of user data against the competition, practices of Internet providers, and net neutrality, among other agenda items that had not been previously observed.


This move happens in an unusual setting: Biden has not yet chosen the person to lead the antitrust division of the Department of Justice in the US, and there is no official appointment in the Communications Commission (FCC) beyond the inside job by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.


On the other hand, the current regulatory framework has not been updated based on the access and growth of the technology industry. Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have a rank based on current antitrust laws, rules that could be rethought by the current government.


Mergers and data under the microscope


According to the NYT, a group of measures within this executive order to be promulgated aims to strengthen the role of federal agencies that evaluate merger processes between companies, an almost normalized practice in the technology sector and that usually involves transactions of thousands of millions of dollars.


In recent years, Republican and Democratic representatives have expressed concern about the lack of control with which megacorporations acquire small companies or use user data as their own resources to get ahead of the competition in e-commerce, programmatic advertising, application development, and the positioning of tools “in-house.


Another point directs efforts on data. The presidential order will seek to empower the control agencies so that they can limit the way in which the "Big Tech" uses consumer data to position their own solutions and block competition.


Net neutrality


This set of rules also seeks to empower the FCC in regulatory matters to observe Internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T, or Verizon, especially in matters of equivalence between cost and quality of service.


"Biden will also encourage the FCC to reestablish the so-called net neutrality rules that prevented Internet providers from blocking certain content, slowing down its delivery or allowing customers to pay more for their content to be delivered faster," says the note. The protection of net neutrality was proposed during the Barack Obama administration but was later repealed by former President Trump.

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