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Senators Vow ‘Dramatic Action’ In Big Tech Antitrust Fight

Big Tech-focused antitrust bills being crafted by several key senators “would force drastic changes” for some companies “and destroy products enjoyed by consumers,” Bloomberg reported.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is working with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on an antitrust bill he said is similar to some of the legislation approved last month by the House Judiciary Committee, although he didn’t single any out, according to Bloomberg.

“There is so much wrong with these social media platforms,” said Grassley, per Bloomberg. “We have to take some dramatic action.”

Klobuchar, the chairwoman of the judiciary panel’s antitrust subcommittee, said one bill “will address tech companies discriminating against competitors who rely on their platforms,” according to Bloomberg.

Some of the upcoming Senate bills will “line up in different ways” with the House measures, she said, per Bloomberg.

Two weeks after the House Judiciary panel approved six bipartisan antitrust bills, four of which target tech giants, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that encourages competition in technology, agriculture, air travel, shipping, banking and other industries.

The Judiciary Committee approved all the proposals, but there is no vote set yet in the House of Representatives.

The six-bill package was developed from a 450-page report released in April that outlines the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into big platform companies that behave like monopolies. First issued in October, the report calls for major changes to antitrust law and details numerous instances when companies allegedly abused their power.

The legislation six-pack represents the government’s attempts at modernizing antitrust to account for the existence of massive tech enterprises by updating antitrust laws to meet the needs of the moment.

“American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services,” said Mark Isakowitz, vice president of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Google. “This would all dramatically undermine U.S. technology leadership, damage the way small businesses connect with consumers and raise serious privacy and security concerns.”

Apple also released a report saying an unintended side effect of the bill would be making its app ecosystem less secure by forcing Apple to allow users to download apps onto their phones without having to use the App Store. The company said that would harm customers by threatening their privacy and parental controls and potentially exposing users’ data to ransomware attacks.

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