Groundwork for possible antitrust assessments of tech platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are ratcheting up. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Sen. Mike Lee are both involved with efforts that could lead to investigations.
Susan Walsh, Associated Press; Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rumblings of antitrust investigations potentially aimed at Google, Amazon, Facebook and/or Apple got a little louder this week with activity at both the state and federal levels — and participation by Utah elected officials.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and 42 other state attorneys general signed a 25-page document that was submitted to the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday and laid the groundwork for a gathering on Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska.

There, attorneys general joined FTC officials for conversations focused on how such big tech platform businesses block out competitors by sheer size and scope, why the intersection of personal data privacy and competition requires scrutiny, and how current, outdated antitrust regulations fall short of being an effective tool.

Some reports ahead of the meeting indicated it could be the first steps in coordinated, state-level investigations of big tech.

But Reyes’ deputy and antitrust specialist David Sonnenreich said the analysis and discussions did not target any particular company and were intended to be a “call for recalibrating the way we look at antitrust and big tech.”

He also noted that dated antitrust rules fail to address issues that have come to the fore with the advent of big tech platforms.

“(One) problem that we’ve identified is that very specialized sets of go-to tools for … brick-and-mortar businesses don’t work as well in the digital world,” Sonnenreich said. “Tech just operates differently. … It’s amorphous or chameleon-like.”

Sonnenreich also noted the way some tech platforms function reflects that the real commodity, for the companies, is the data …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee, Attorney General Sean Reyes on front lines of antitrust looks at Google, Facebook and others

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