A federal judge approved the blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the government’s effort to block the $85.4 billion deal, in a decision that is expected to unleash a wave of takeovers in corporate America. Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court in Washington said the Justice Department had not proved that the telecommunication company’s acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services.
In April 2017, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own.
Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, faced more than three hours of criticism and ridicule from Republicans in a House hearing, as emboldened critics increasingly put pressure on the agency for its crackdown on the growing power of tech giants. During the highly partisan hearing, Republicans accused Chair Khan, who has carried out an aggressive agenda of lawsuits and investigations against tech companies, of “harassing” businesses.
As the US and China battle for geopolitical and technological primacy, the fallout has reached small wireless carriers in dozens of states. They are on the receiving end of the Biden administration’s sweeping policies to suppress China’s rise. What the wireless carriers must do, under a program known as “rip and replace,” has become the starkest physical manifestation of the tech Cold War between the two superpowers.
Google agreed to a record $391.5 million privacy settlement with a 40-state coalition of attorneys general for charges that it misled users into thinking they had turned off location tracking in their account settings even as the company continued collecting that information. Under the settlement, Google will also make its location tracking disclosures clearer starting in 2023. The attorneys general said that the agreement was the biggest internet privacy settlement by US states.
In just the last few years, Europe has seen a landmark law for online privacy take effect, approved sweeping regulations to curb the dominance of the tech giants and is nearing a deal on new legislation to protect its citizens from harmful online content. For those keeping score, that’s Europe: three.
The most pressing questions is whether the Securities and Exchange Commission — the federal agency where Ms. Haugen sent the documents — will significantly add to Facebook’s woes. Whistle-blowers have filed at least nine complaints to the agency, which has oversight of public companies like Facebook, using a selection of the internal documents to argue that Facebook misled investors with a rosier picture of the company than they knew to be true.
Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies.
A year after the pandemic turned the nation’s digital divide into an education emergency, President Joe Biden, inheriting the problem, is making affordable broadband a top priority, comparing it to the effort to spread electricity across the country. His $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $100 billion to extend fast internet access to every home. The money is meant to improve the economy by enabling all Americans to work, get medical care and take classes from wherever they live.
Microsoft takes aim at Google as it supports bill to give news publishers more leverage over Big Tech.
The House Antitrust Subcommittee debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers collective bargaining power with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting the spotlight on a proposal aimed at chipping away at the power of Big Tech. At a hearing. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, emerged as a leading industry voice in favor of the law. He took a divergent path from his tech counterparts, pointing to an imbalance in power between publishers and tech platforms.