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  1. Last 7 days
    1. The U.S. Justice Department and 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the law in using its market power to fend off rivals.

      FYI ||StephanieBP|| It's in DW already

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    1. Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog

      Japan is getting more actively involved - also in Google Fitbit merger. Australia has an antitrust initiative against GAFA too, including Google - Fitbit merger, but did not join EU and US (yet) ||StephanieBP||

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  2. Oct 2020
    1. The Hindu text provides balanced analysis of the reaction of Facebook on the movie 'The Social Media'. On the policy side, this movie opens the question of privacy, anti-trust regulation, and mental health.

      Facebook follows its standard rhetorics by shifting discussion in the past - 'the efforts already taken' - and the future - 'we are working to change this'.

    1. because enforcers in other countries have been held back by American timidity

      Have they?! Has the EU been timid? I don't think so. Unless he's referring to some other place...

    2. Chicago School

      This is so deeply embedded in how US jurists look at antitrust, that it is one of the major obstacles to reforming antitrust law

    3. Senate Commerce Committee subpoena’d the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, with a unanimous vote, and the press barely noticed

      indeed!

    4. This pro-monopoly conventional wisdom is impossible to remember because it’s so embarrassing

      NOW it's embarrassing. But back then, the laissez-faire approach was also a way for US tech to grow, and to win the global tech race.

    5. We the people changed our minds

      Changed our minds about what? A bit too simplistic. We changed our minds, as companies grew bigger and more powerful, threatening even governments

    6. follow-on enforcement action at the agencies,

      This is supposed to be the next step... DOJ filing a case against Google

    7. imposing a presumptive ban on future acquisitions by large platforms, imposing a presumption that vertical mergers by large platforms are unlawful

      Would it be a blanket ban? Acquisition of small companies is one thing (some start-ups are created with the aim of being sold off to a Big Tech company if they are successful); acquisition of large undertakings (ex Google and Fitbit) is quite another. [Re google/fitbit, we're following separately]

    8. mergers can go through and when they can’t

      The rules are there. Making clearer rules, perhaps? Reviewing when authorities should not give the final nod?

    9. Cicilline suggests writing statutes to overrule a host of Supreme Court precedents that have unreasonably crippled antitrust laws on things like pricing below cost or abusing one’s dominant position as a platform

      He makes a good point, and with strong bipartisan support and agreement, this is not a farfetched proposition

    10. (1) a legislative break-up and restructuring of big tech platforms to restore competition online (2) a strengthening of laws against monopolies and mergers, (3) institutional reforms to fix and fund the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ Antitrust Division, and (4) restoring the ability of ordinary citizens to take monopolists to court on their own.

      This summarises the report's recommendations. On 1, this is probably the best route. On 2, weak enforcement makes the law useless, no matter how strong it is. On 3, first they are criticised, then they are sugarcoated with the promise of funds. What DOJ needs is to get on with it, ie, what AG Barr is pushing for. On 4, is there a Max Schrems equivalent in the US? Doubt it.

    11. whether they simply treat lawbreaking as a cost of business

      This is part of the problem of being too big (or too rich). Fines and penalties are often insignificant. It's why the EU does not hesitate to impose hefty fines

    12. attacks the way that these corporations finance think tanks and academics

      The fact that the Congressman describes how the Big Tech have been financing think tanks and shaping policy does not make the document more political...

    13. Federal Trade Commission and Antitrust Division for refusing to enforce monopolization laws and failing to stop mergers, even when they had evidence that such mergers were anti-competitive

      Ouch indeed. Basically, the Congressman is attacking the FTC, and the Justice Department - the same department which is about to launch an antitrust case against Google ("this week or next week")

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    1. Facebook Says Government Breakup of Instagram, WhatsApp Would Be ‘Complete Nonstarter’

      FB is arguing that the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were approved by the FTC leading to massive investments and tech integration and now are so intertwined that it is impossible to unwind the deals. ||StephanieBP||

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    1. This is an interesting court case which Apple is likely to win. But, it opens an important issue of the US anti-trust policy which takes care only of immediate issue: how does monopoly affects consumers (Chicago school on anti-trust). However, this approach overlooks long-term risks of tech monopolies.

      ||Pavlina|| could you put it on your radar? ||StephanieBP|| this development could go in our Weekly Digest ||AndrijanaG|| who is covering competiton/anti-trust policy

    2. “It is important enough to understand what real people think,” said Rogers. “Do these security issues concern people or not?”

      Continuation of the US anti-trust policy dealing only on immediate effect of consumers (Chicago school of anti-trust). They do not consider how future monopolies can become 'too big to fail' and move beyond anti-trust control.

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  3. Sep 2020
    1. EU's Digital Services Act (DSA) is getting contour from EU commissioner Thierry Breton in the interview with Financial Times. The main elements are:

      1. tech companies with monopolistic power could be:
      • forced to break up or sell of their European operators ('TikTok clause);
      • exclude large tech companies from the EU market.
      1. introduction of a rating system for allow the public and stakeholders to control behaviour of tech companies (tax compliance, content control).

      2. EU will remain with limited liability of tech platforms for content (stay with Section 230 logic).

      Mr. Breton compares tech companies to big banks before the financial crisis 2008. Thus, one can expect that EU's tech policy will be inspired via analogy to the regulation of financial sector.

      ||StephanieBP|| ||Jovan||

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