Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) thinks antitrust regulation of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google is going to be tough, and in order to pass meaningful reforms that rein in the power of Big Tech companies, Congress will need the help of the American people. Cicilline is chair of the antitrust subcommittee in Congress and spoke Sunday as part of a Yale University School of Law conference about antitrust ahead of the anticipated release of what Cicilline calls the most extensive antitrust law reform investigation by Congress in more than 50 years. Identifying anticompetitive behavior by big companies is pretty easy, he said, but developing solutions and gathering the necessary political support for reform is the challenge.
“We’re going to have to combat companies that have an enormous stake in maintaining the status quo, which has been enormously profitable for them, and so this will be a big fight,” he said. “We’re going to need the support of the American people. When we move forward with this legislation, it will only happen if we can rally the country around it, because we’re fighting against strong economic forces and powerful corporations that are likely to oppose what we’re trying to do, and getting the American people on our side to understand it matters in their daily lives is going to be really critical.”
Cicilline said it’s important for the American people to understand that the rise of Big Tech companies has resulted in a decline in innovation, increased cost to consumers, less choice for consumers, a degradation of quality, a decline in trustworthy news sources, and a decline in worker power. He’s also called the power of Big Tech companies a threat to democracy.
In June 2019, the antitrust subcommittee, a part of the House Judiciary committee, began an