House Antitrust Subcommittee's three big ideas to take on tech power

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On paper, Feb 25’s House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing was about analyzing how big tech platforms act as gatekeepers and create barriers to entry — but really it was about testing out three new avenues for keeping tech companies in line and seeing which ones might gain support from tech-skeptical Republican representatives. But at the hearing, the subcommittee moved beyond calling out bad behavior and laid out three big areas where Congress could actually take action:

  • Data interoperability and portability: Users should be able to take their data elsewhere with ease. Example: Think about how you can move your phone number between carriers. Before the 1996 Telecommunications Act, that wasn’t always an option.
  • Nondiscrimination: Basically, a dominant platform shouldn’t be able to preference its own products over those of its competitors.
  • Structural remedies: Breaking apart different lines of business or platforms under one company.

The subcommittee on antitrust still has two more hearings to complete before they start filing legislation. They’re expecting to start introducing certain bills this spring, but that doesn’t mean they’ll become law anytime soon. There will likely be even more hearings and a markup process before those bills get close to votes on the floor.

The House’s three big ideas to take on tech power