Several news agencies have recently reported that the U.S. Justice Department will launch an antitrust enforcement investigation of Google, and that the Federal Trade Commission may begin similar investigations of Facebook and Amazon.
Further, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has opened a bipartisan inquiry focused on whether these tech platforms are using their market power to harm competition.
College of Law Professor Maurice Stucke, a former U.S. Justice Department attorney who studies antitrust enforcement and has written extensively about the topic, says in order to understand these events, it’s important to understand the history.
“U.S. antitrust policy and enforcement have waxed and waned over several cycles,” Stucke said. “Scholars are now chronicling what many Americans have felt over the past decade: our current market power problem. We are realizing how the lax antitrust enforcement policies have enabled so many industries to become dominated by so few companies.”
Last year Stucke visited the United Nations where he was asked to address the implications of a data-driven economy. At the heart of his concerns are companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon – or data-opolies – as he calls them, whose collection of data can pose a number of risks to individuals and the economy.
Stucke has been sourced in several stories throughout the last week by reporters with Bloomberg, the Washington Times, Ad Age and others.
“As economic power often translates into political power, many of us are experiencing the consequences, not only on our wallets, but on our privacy, autonomy, well-being, and democracy,” Stucke said.
View or read more of Stucke’s commentary about the subject through the news stories below.
Washington Times: Big Tech unites Democrats, Republicans behind anti-trust crackdown
MIT Technology Review: Regulating or breaking up Big Tech: an antitrust explainer
In These Times: Jeff Bezos’s Corporate Takeover of Our Lives