Two US senators, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, are pushing for the establishment of a new federal agency tasked with regulating tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Meta (formerly known as Facebook).
The proposed regulatory body would have the authority to sue platforms and, if necessary, compel them to cease operations in response to various potential harms, including anti-competitive practices, violations of consumer privacy, and the spread of harmful online content. The scope of the new regulator would extend beyond just social media and e-commerce, encompassing the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence as well.
The Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Warren and Graham, represents a significant effort to address long-standing concerns about Big Tech’s conduct. The legislation aims to create a new tech regulator with broad powers to investigate claims of wrongdoing, issue operating licenses for the largest companies, and enforce regulations for the industry.
The bill includes measures to ban certain practices, such as prioritizing a company’s apps and services in search results and restricting the use of Americans’ personal information for targeted advertising.
Moreover, the legislation addresses national security concerns by requiring “dominant” platforms to be based in the United States or under US citizen control, and it imposes restrictions on data storage in specific countries.
The senators draw parallels between their proposed agency and existing sector-specific regulators, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
While the bill represents a significant step towards regulating Big Tech, there may be some areas of overlap with existing agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), which also handle antitrust and consumer protection issues. However, the intention is for the new tech-focused commission to work collaboratively with the FTC and DOJ, ensuring that all agencies can enforce regulations effectively.
The push for this regulatory overhaul comes after years of unsuccessful attempts to impose new rules on large tech companies, and it reflects growing concerns over the unchecked power and influence of these tech giants in the digital landscape.