By Bill Baer
In Biden’s first two years competition policy and antitrust enforcement have been aggressive but the focus, as Biden noted in a recent WSJ Op-Ed, now needs to move to Congress. It’s time, indeed past time, for Congress to address abusive behaviors by the dominant tech platforms. The SOTU should reinforce his Op-Ed message: legislators should find common ground around enacting federal privacy protections, reforming Section 230, and leveling the playing field for tech platform competition.
A massive and disingenuous lobbying campaign by the tech giants succeeded in blocking legislation in the last Congress. Biden should remind Congress and the public that monopolies wreak havoc on the economy, take money from consumers’ pockets, expose them to invasions of privacy and deny all of us the benefits of innovation.
Contrary to the claims of lobbyists, preventing Amazon from self-preferencing will not threaten Prime and eliminating Apple’s stranglehold on the App Store will not put our privacy and cyber security at risk. As our colleague Tom Wheeler recently explained, similar rules are now in place in Europe and the tech platforms have found ways to comply and thrive.
The President should call out Congress and ask why US consumers are not getting the benefits from competition and privacy protection that Europeans receive today.
Apple and Amazon are general unrestricted donors to the Brookings Institution. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions posted in this piece are solely those of the authors and not influenced by any donation.