Data collection allows Big Tech to hurt competition, says FTC official

Data collection allows Big Tech to hurt competition, says FTC official

Big Tech

Vast troves of consumer data collected by big tech companies allow them to gain a competitive edge and pose a threat to competition, Federal Trade Commission's Rohit Chopra said on Friday.

Personal data is powering the dominance of big tech companies that offer basic services for free, which are ultimately "not really free," Commissioner Chopra, a Democrat, told the House of Representatives Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee during a hearing.

He also said small fines and financial penalties will not be enough to address concerns about the power of big tech firms, adding that regulators will need to take a closer look at that. For example, earlier this year the FTC fined Facebook Inc $5 billion over online privacy. Chopra voted against that decision.

There are several probes at the federal, state and congressional level aimed at determining if big technology companies - Alphabet-owned Google, Facebook, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc - use their considerable clout in the online market illegally to hurt rivals or otherwise break competition law.

Once lauded as engines of economic growth, these companies have increasingly been on the defensive over their outsized market influence. Politicians including President Donald Trump, consumers, other firms and regulators have criticized that power.

Earlier this week, the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee said that they had begun receiving data from these companies as part of their probe into the companies' potential breaches of antitrust law.

Democrat David Cicilline, who chairs the antitrust subcommittee, said on Friday the committee has received "tens of thousands of documents" and is expecting more.

Source: Reuters 18 October, Washington

Reporting: Nandita Bose

Copyright Lyonsdown Limited 2021

Top Articles

300% increase in global cyber attacks

According to NTT's Global Threat Intelligence Report, there has been a 300% increase in cyber attacks globally Manufacturing, healthcare and finance industries all saw an increase in attacks globally (300%,…

US pipeline giant Colonial Pipeline suffers disruptive DarkSide ransomware attack

Colonial Pipeline suffered a DarkSide ransomware attack late last week that forced it to shut all pipeline operations.

NCSC's Active Cyber Defence programme helped sink 70k online scams in 2020

NCSC's Active Cyber Defence programme, which includes the Suspicious Email Reporting Service, helped in taking down over 70,000 online scams totalling 1.4 million URLs last year.

Related Articles