Biden DOJ Endorses Bipartisan Anti-Big Tech Legislation

An antitrust bill prohibiting big tech brands, such as Google and Apple, from self-preferencing received the full approval of the Justice Department on Monday.

This marks the Biden administration’s first public expression of full backing for one of the bipartisan antitrust proposals currently advancing through Congress.

Actions of the DOJ

To show support for the American Technology and Choice Online Act, which would help stop tech firms from inordinately endorsing their merchandise on their apps and services (or creating inexpensive imitations of existing products using internal information), the Department of Justice sent out a memo.

This memo was sent to leaders on both sides of the political aisle on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation.

This legislation is anticipated to move on to the Senate floor in the coming months. The House passed a similar bill, which was introduced in January.

According to the Justice Department, the bill would promote more dynamic digital marketplaces by preventing dominant technology businesses from obstructing innovation and competition.

The law would also clarify the government’s current antitrust jurisdiction, according to the department.

To put it another way, Peter Hyun, acting assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust law at the Justice Department weighed in.

According to Hyun, “By confirming the unlawfulness of practices that make it more difficult for smaller or younger companies to come up with something new and vying and compete, the law would add to the existing antitrust law.”

If the bill is passed, antitrust regulators, such as the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, would be able to sue internet firms for self-preferencing conduct detailed in the law, the measure’s supporters say.

Corporations might face fines of up to 15 percent of their total U.S. revenue when the illegal behavior occurred, if they are found guilty in a court of law.

Specific Activities

According to the measure’s backers, activity that significantly undermines competition in the ways stated in the bill would be prohibited under the law.

One example would be the misuse of a company’s data for competitive purposes, as Amazon has been accused of doing. 

Another example would be requiring a company to purchase the services of the parent platform to be given priority placement.

If businesses can’t make sure their products and services appear in search results on their platforms, they also can’t stop some products from working completely inside the platform.

Big tech corporations and consumer advocacy groups, on the other hand, claim the law will destroy several popular tech products. They cite Amazon’s Prime shipping and Basics product lines, as well as Google’s search functionality.

However, despite bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill faces resistance from certain members of both chambers who are concerned about overreach by the government.

The support of the Justice Department for the measure improves the likelihood of it being enacted; although, it is unclear when or how the legislation will be moved.