October 4, 2022
Justice Department antitrust chief wants to ‘unplug’ tech monopolies

The Justice Department’s top antitrust cop said he wants to “unplug” monopolistic big tech firms and protest against a stalled congressional bill aimed at reining in Google, Amazon, Meta and Apple during a fiery speech Friday. Took his support out of the house.

Biden-appointed Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Cantor, who heads the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said US regulators had previously taken a “strange-a-mole” approach to monopolistic behavior by Big Tech companies.

“Nobody really wins that game — the moles just keep coming,” Cantor said. “To prevent them from popping up, you really need to unplug the machine. In the same way, those implementing in digital platform industries Monopoly need to unplug the machine.”

During his speech at the Fordham University Conference on International Law and Policy in Manhattan, Cantor called on US antitrust regulators to take a more aggressive approach to enforcing existing laws.

“The digital economy has enabled a monopoly power of a nature and degree never seen before in our country,” Kanter said in front of an audience at Fordham Law School, which included many lawyers who defend tech firms against regulators like him. Used to do

FTC President Leena Khan, who also spoke at the conference on Friday, called for the antitrust law in Congress.
FTC Chair Leena Khan, who also spoke at the conference on Friday, called the antitrust law in Congress “an extremely healthy development” while it was stalled.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens Amy Klobuchar (D-Min.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and passed by the Senate Judiciary in January, would ban Big Tech companies from favoring their products over competitors in search results. , For example, Amazon will not be allowed to favor its Amazon Basics products over competitors.

Cantor, who did not call the companies by name but spoke about Big Tech more generally, also reiterated the Justice Department’s support of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which has been stalled in Congress.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said he supports the bill but has not brought it to vote, even though Klobuchar and Grassley have insisted for months that they have the votes to pass it. . Big Tech foes have accused Schumer of stalling the bill, while Schumer insists he waits until he has enough votes.

Before joining the Justice Department in July 2021, Kanter worked for Microsoft, Yelp and the New York Post parent company News Corp. Including Google’s rivals and critics.

Before Kanter’s speech, he greeted EU Competition Commissioner Margthe Vestager with a kiss on the cheek.

Vestager spoke at the conference days after scoring a major victory against Google, when a European court handed down a record-breaking $4 billion fine for massively throttling competition and the dominance of its mobile Android operating system through Slapped the appeal to reduce consumer choice.

Two other top Biden anti-administration officials also spoke on Friday.

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lena Khan called the antitrust law in Congress “an extremely healthy development,” while White House economic adviser Tim Wu called on lawmakers to better fund the FTC and the Justice Department.

“The agencies are engaged in extremely complex, resource-intensive, expert-intensive litigation that is draining their pockets,” Wu said.

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