House unveils package of bills to rein in Silicon Valley giants



House Democrats unveiled their antitrust package Friday introducing five bills aimed at reining in some of the nation's largest tech companies.

Four of the bills would prohibit specific behaviors and impose new obligations on the biggest online platforms like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and potentially Microsoft. The fifth would boost funding at the U.S.’s two antitrust agencies, giving them additional money to help enforce the new laws. The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under the bills, the platforms would be barred from unfairly favoring their own products and buying up potential rivals. They would be required to build new interfaces that allow users or businesses to more easily transfer to competing platforms. And the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission could sue to force the tech giants to sell off parts of their business if they represent an “irreconcilable conflict of interest.”

Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman described the package as “the most powerful tools that we’ve seen introduced in Congress to address the power of Big Tech.”

“It’s a huge deal. What is needed is additional law on top of antitrust focused on Big Tech, which is what this is,” said Slaiman, a former FTC lawyer who now focuses on competition policy for the public advocacy non-profit. Public Knowledge receives funding from all five of the major platforms, the U.S.’s three major telecoms and publishers like News Corp. though it says it limits the size of corporate donations to ensure its independence

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