cloudyn.png
Thursday September 19th, 2019 12:29AM

Tech on trial: House panel begins review of market power

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big Tech is about to become big politics in Washington.

The House Judiciary Committee is launching its investigation into the market dominance of Silicon Valley's biggest names, starting with a look at the impact of the tech giants' platforms on news content, news organizations and advertisers.

News media associations and journalism groups accuse the tech giants of jeopardizing the industry's economic survival by putting out news content on their platforms without paying for it. They will make their case against the companies at Tuesday's hearing of the Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel.

The big tech companies "have gained a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content," the Save Journalism Project said in a statement.

Stepping ahead of the criticism, Google's vice president of news Richard Gringas said the company has "worked for many years to be a collaborative and supportive technology and advertising partner to the news industry."

"Every month, Google News and Google Search drive over 10 billion clicks to publishers' websites, which drive subscriptions and significant ad revenue," he said in a statement Tuesday.

In a Capitol steeped in partisanship, inflamed by special counsel Robert Mueller's report and Democrats' intensifying probes of President Donald Trump, the House Judiciary Committee's investigation of tech market power stands out. Not only is it bipartisan, but it's also the first such review by Congress of a sector that for more than a decade has enjoyed haloed status and a light touch from federal regulators.

With regulators at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission apparently pursuing antitrust investigations of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, and several state attorneys general exploring bipartisan action of their own, the tech industry finds itself in a precarious moment — with the dreaded M-word increasingly used to describe their way of doing business.

"These are monopolies," Rep. David Cicilline said on "Fox News Sunday."

Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, who heads the antitrust subcommittee and is leading the hearing, vowed that the panel will broadly investigate the digital marketplace and "the dominance of large technology platforms," with an eye toward legislative action to increase competition.

"We know the problems; they're easy to diagnose," Cicilline said. "Shaping the solutions is going to be more difficult."

Politicians on the left and right have differing gripes about the tech giants. Some complain of aggressive conduct that squashes competition. Others perceive a political bias or tolerance of extremist content. Still others are upset by the industry's harvesting of personal data.

Several Democratic presidential candidates think they have the solution: breaking up the companies on antitrust grounds. Cicilline has called that "a last resort," but the idea has currency with both major political parties, including at the White House.

Trump noted the huge fines imposed by European regulators on the biggest tech companies.

"We are going to be looking at them differently," he said in an interview Monday on CNBC.

"We should be doing what (the Europeans) are doing," Trump said. "Obviously, there is something going on in terms of monopoly."

The tech giants have mostly declined to comment on the antitrust investigations.

Google has said that scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators "often improves our products and the policies that govern them," and that in some areas, such as data protection, laws need to be updated.

Facebook executives have been calling broadly for regulation while explicitly rejecting the idea of breaking up "a successful American company." CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called for new rules in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

When Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted in April that tech giants like Amazon should be broken up, Amazon tweeted back, "Walmart is much larger."

And Apple has countered a legal challenge to its management of the App Store by saying it "will prevail when the facts are presented and the App Store is not a monopoly by any metric."

In hearings and closed-door work over coming months, lawmakers in the House aim to unpeel the complex onion of the tech industry's dominance. They are expected to summon the chief executives of the major companies to appear before the panel. Not showing up, as some CEOs have done in the past, is unlikely to be tolerated.

"There could be something really useful" to emerge as legislation, said Allen Grunes, who led merger investigations at the Justice Department as an antitrust attorney.

Lawmakers could address, for example, the galloping acquisition of small companies by the tech giants or craft an update of antitrust laws to apply better to complex tech behemoths, suggested Grunes, a co-founder and attorney at the Konkurrenz Group in Washington.

"It's not illegal to be a monopoly," he said. "But it's wrong for someone at the top of the hill to kick the people off who are trying to climb it."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Warriors hang on to stay alive, win Game 5 of NBA Finals
Warriors hang on to stay alive, win Game 5 of NBA Finals
11:57PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Warriors rally, force Game 6 in NBA Finals
The Latest: Warriors rally, force Game 6 in NBA Finals with 106-105 win over Raptors
11:43PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Bill that set off big protest to go to Hong Kong legislature
Hong Kong's leader says extradition bill that was targeted in huge weekend protest will proceed to the territory's legislature
11:26PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Warriors trying to hang on, lead entering 4th
The Latest: Warriors trying to hang on, as title-chasing Raptors get within 84-78 entering fourth quarter
11:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Injured Kevin Durant will not return to Game 5
The Latest: Warriors say Kevin Durant will not return to Game 5, MRI on Tuesday
10:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
David Ortiz back in Boston after being shot in Dominican bar
David Ortiz is back in Boston for medical care, a day after authorities say the former Red Sox slugger affectionately known as Big Papi was ambushed by a gunman at a bar in his native Dominican Republic
10:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Game 5 begins with Durant starting for Warriors
The Latest: Game 5 begins with Kevin Durant replacing DeMarcus Cousins in the Warriors' starting lineup
9:12PM ( 3 hours ago )
Ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. convicted of rape
Ex-NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr. convicted of raping 58-year-old homeless woman and lewd act, indecent exposure involving 2 other women; jury still deliberating other rape charges
8:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
House Democrats make deal to see Mueller files on Trump
The House is expecting to receive the first files of underlying evidence from Robert Mueller's report soon
8:15PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Hong Kong chief says extradition law will go to legislature
Hong Kong's leader says a highly controversial extradition law will proceed to the territory's legislature
11:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ex-Virginia attorney general named to US immigration post
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies, has been named acting director of the agency that manages legal immigration
9:13PM ( 2 hours ago )
European nations, Russia back new government in Moldova
Five European nations and Russia have declared their support for elected lawmakers in Moldova after a court-appointed interim president dissolved parliament and called a new election
8:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
John Dean calls Mueller report 'road map' for Trump probe
John Dean, a star witness during Watergate who helped bring down the Nixon presidency, has testified before the House Judiciary Committee
4:15PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Dean: Parallels in Watergate and Russia probe.
The White House counsel from President Richard Nixon's administration says there are parallels between the Russia probe and Watergate
3:00PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: House lawmakers begin Russia probe hearing
The House Judiciary Committee has officially started their hearing into special counsel Robert Mueller's report and whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice
2:29PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
UN panel: Connect half the world, and $20 phones can help
A U.N. panel is calling for greater cooperation to bring digital technology to roughly half the world's people, and a senior Google executive says cellphones with Internet access are being created to sell for about $20 to help make this possible
10:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
US stocks climb after US suspends tariffs on Mexican goods
Technology companies and banks helped power stocks higher on Wall Street Monday as investors welcomed news that the U.S. and Mexico averted a trade war and potentially damaging tariffs
5:05PM ( 7 hours ago )
California county questions security deal for men-only club
An annual California retreat by an elite club that has included powerful U.S. political and business leaders is facing scrutiny for excluding women
4:48PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business
Warriors hang on to stay alive, win Game 5 of NBA Finals
Warriors hang on to stay alive, win Game 5 of NBA Finals
11:57PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Warriors rally, force Game 6 in NBA Finals
The Latest: Warriors rally, force Game 6 in NBA Finals with 106-105 win over Raptors
11:43PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Bill that set off big protest to go to Hong Kong legislature
Hong Kong's leader says extradition bill that was targeted in huge weekend protest will proceed to the territory's legislature
11:26PM ( 46 minutes ago )
The Latest: Warriors' Looney out for remainder of Game 5
The Latest: Warriors say Kevon Looney will miss remainder of Game 5 with chest injury
11:22PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Dallas crane collapse victim identified as 29-year-old woman
North Texans began struggling to come to grips Monday with widespread damage after a sudden, savage thunderstorm
11:16PM ( 56 minutes ago )