After a lengthy debate that lasted into Wednesday night, the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill to fund efforts to regulate big tech companies. Lawmakers want to clip the wings of firms like Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook with a radical overhaul of antitrust laws that could have big implications for the big internet platforms and the consumers who use them. On Tuesday, the White House said President Joe Biden believes measures are needed to safeguard privacy, drive innovation and deal with other problems created by big tech platforms, and that he supports legislation related to big tech. After Wednesday’s session in Congress, there were still four big tech bills to vote. The laws could force a transformation of the business practices of Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, or potentially lead to divisions. Critics allege that the measures could have unforeseen consequences that could harm consumers and some of the most popular Internet services. Opponents include the powerful US Chamber of Commerce and the affected companies themselves. Tech firms warned of negative consequences for popular services used by the public, such as forcing Apple to remove its messaging apps from iPhones or to Google from displaying YouTube or Maps results. Apple also claimed that opening the iPhone to applications on other platforms would create security and privacy risks for users. The four tech giants have been under federal, state and congressional investigations for two years into how they use their influence to extend or abuse their dominance to adjacent markets. The projects would restrict how online platforms can promote their own products or services, and limit mergers or acquisitions by large companies. “The digital market suffers from a lack of competition. Many digital markets are defined by monopolies or duopolies,” said Rep. David Cicilline, according to the AFP agency. The fate of the bills is still unclear, as some Republican lawmakers and moderate Democrats have voiced their doubts despite bipartisan support for the measures.
[Con información de Reuters y AFP]
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