US targets big tech dominance with new antitrust bills

Five bipartisan bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives which seek to rein in large tech platforms

A bipartisan group of legislators in the US House of Representatives have introduced five bills aimed at reining in the power of big tech, with the potential to break them up.

Legislators are looking to restore competition to the digital marketplace and rein in the largest tech platforms through their agenda named "A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, Choice".

The first bill, the "American Innovation and Choice Online Act", seeks to prohibit discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms, including a ban on self-preferencing and "picking winners or losers online".

The second, the "Platform Competition and Opportunity Act", prohibits acquisitions of competitive threats by dominant platforms, as well as those that expand or entrench the market power of online platforms.

The third bill, the "Ending Platform Monopolies Act", looks to eliminate the ability of dominant platforms to leverage their control across multiple business lines to self-preference and disadvantage competitors in ways that "undermine free and fair competition".

The fourth bill, the "Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act", brings in new data portability requirements to try and promote competition by lowering barriers to entry and switching costs for businesses and consumers.

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Lastly, the fifth bill, the "Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act", updates filing fees for mergers for the first time in two decades to ensure the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have the resources they need to "aggressively enforce" antitrust laws.

"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," said Judiciary Committee chairman David Cicilline. "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 Judiciary Committee formally approved a report seeking to curb Big Tech market dominance in April. The report called for regulatory changes, including structural separations of vendor platforms, and accused Big Tech of acting as a monopoly. As the report was approved, legislation could then be crafted to address the "significant concerns" mentioned in the report, said Cicilline.

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