Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed five new bills aimed at Big Tech and designed to prevent practices that give rise to an anti-competitive environment in the industry — reports The Verge.
This set of bills is the culmination of the House Judiciary Committee’s 16-month long investigation into the business practices of big tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.
One of the bills would grant the U.S. Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) power to force tech firms to sell parts of their business that carry the possibility of creating a conflict of interest. This could result in Amazon having to kill off its own brands like Amazon Basics.
Another of the bills is designed to prevent tech companies from playing favourites providing recommendations to consumers, such as how Google gives its own services preference over competitors in search results.
Another bill would prevent big companies from acquiring competitors still in their infancy, like how Facebook bought Instagram back in 2012.
Of the remaining two bills, one has to do with increasing merger fees for large companies, and the other with requiring tech platforms to make the data they collect more portable and interoperable, allowing users to seamlessly skip from service to service.
In a statement on Friday, Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) said the following:
Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy. They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.
The future of these bills, for the time being, remains unclear. If passed, these bills have the potential to not only address and alleviate the antitrust concerns looming within the tech space, but also reshape the entire landscape of the industry.