Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Grassley Lee Propose Antitrust Legislation; China Passes New Data Security Law

Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Grassley, Lee Propose Antitrust Legislation; China Passes New Data Security Law

June 21, 2021 at 09:08PM

Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing global scrutiny. 

Grassley, Lee Introduce Bill To Move Antitrust Enforcement To The Justice Department 

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) put forward a bill that would migrate all antitrust enforcement to the Department of Justice, CNBC reported.

“America is facing a panoply of competition concerns not just in Big Tech, but across our entire economy,” Lee said in a June 14 press release. “We need a holistic approach that deals with all of these concerns, and that benefits all consumers, in every industry — without massively increasing regulation and imposing a command-and-control grip over the economy.”

As it stands, the antitrust arm of the Justice Department, in addition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), share the work of antitrust enforcement. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides its input on telecommunications deals, CNBC reported. 

China Passes New Data Security Law

As Beijing keeps increasing its control over large tech companies and imposing its power over information created in the country, China’s leading lawmaking body has ratified a broad data law, the South China Morning Post reported.

To that end, firms that move the state’s “core data” to other countries on the absence of the appropriate approval from Beijing will face a financial fine of as much as 10 million yuan (or $1.56 million) and might have to close.

The new regulation provides a wide definition as to what is “core data” as “any data that concerns national and economic security, people’s welfare, and important public interest” in the words of SCMP.

“Data is a country’s basic strategic resource. Without data security there is no national security,” the Cyberspace Administration of China said in an announcement, as noted by SCMP.

Senate Votes To Appoint Lina Khan As A FTC Commissioner

The Senate voted 69 to 28 on June 15 to name Lina Khan, an antitrust expert and known tech critic, as a FTC commissioner. Khan is renowned for her expertise in applying anti-competition legislation to the tech sector. “The overwhelming support in the Senate for Lina Khan’s nomination to serve on the Federal Trade Commission is a big win for fair competition in our country,” according to a statement by FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra. “There is a growing consensus that the FTC must turn the page on the failed policies spanning multiple administrations.”

Japanese Antitrust Regulators Could Roll Out Probe Into Google, Apple

The government of Japan is said to be rolling out an antitrust probe into arrangements that Google and Apple have made with the nation’s smartphone manufacturers. The probe could bring about more formidable antitrust rules.

India Set To Expedite Probe Into Flipkart, Amazon

The newest round in Big Tech’s antitrust fight in India has a watchdog agency set to speed up an investigation into Amazon and Walmart-controlled Flipkart. “Cases involving digital firms are getting a priority at CCI as they can have significant impact on the economy and Indian startups,” an unnamed source said in a published report.

UK’s CMA Begins Probe Into Purported Apple And Google Mobile Platform Duopoly

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is starting a market study to see if Google and Apple’s purported platform duopoly holds back competition, decreases innovation or brings about higher prices for consumers.

“Apple and Google control the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles — whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said, as previously reported.

The U.K. watchdog said in a recent press release that the firms have an effective duopoly in a number of areas — web browsers, app gateways and mobile operating systems.