America’s technology companies have created huge gains for consumers, developing networks and products that connect the world in ways that were inconceivable just 20 years ago. Yet this progress has not been without its critics. The dominance of large platforms has led to concerns about the harmful effects of lock-in and path dependency, with many arguing the technology sector is unique and requires new approaches to antitrust policy. In particular, it is argued that the consumer welfare standard that guides American antitrust policy is ineffective for regulating Big Tech. Yet with the lack of demonstrable consumer harm, would increased government interventions improve the market?
Please join the Committee for Justice and Innovation Defense Foundation for a discussion of this important issue in advance of the House Judiciary Committee's hearing, "Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google," with industry CEOs.
In Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Supreme Court struck down the CFPB’s leadership structure under a single director that the President cannot remove except for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance. But the justices stopped there, leaving the bureau in place, and declined to revisit Humphrey’s Executor more broadly. Nonetheless, the Court’s decision was a victory for separation of powers principles. Our panel of legal and regulatory experts will discuss the implications of the opinion for independent agencies and removal power, as well as what the decision means for consumers.
The death of George Floyd and the nation's reaction to it have raised a variety of interesting legal issues, including police reform, racial profiling, qualified immunity, censorship, criminal charges against policemen, and the scope of the president's power to use troops to quell civil unrest. Our panel of legal experts will analyze the legal issues involved and how they are likely to play out in the months ahead, while also discussing the broader implications for the law and our society.
Commissioner O’Rielly served for many years as a leading policy analyst and advisor to the House and Senate Commerce Committees. At the FCC, Commissioner O’Rielly has stayed true to a Constitutionalist regulatory philosophy focused on the rule of law and economic freedom, and regulatory intervention only when it is justified and narrowly tailored. He has built an impressive record of achievements with distinguished leadership on many critical issues including spectrum; 5G and wireless services; broadcast and media; regulatory modernization; FCC process reform; internet freedom; and combatting corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse.
Our panel last month discussed Robert Bork’s consumer welfare standard, which has heavily influenced the evolution of antitrust analysis and enforcement over the past 42 years, and how Bork’s paradigm is under attack. Many defenders of the rule of law are concerned with the populist notion that competition law should be weaponized and used as a tool to address broader socio-economic concerns. Furthermore, adopting populist proposals that seek to rewrite antitrust law would upend more than a century of legal and economic learning and progress. This week, we will dive deeper into the recent populist antitrust movement and how the failure to distinguish between the proper and improper uses of antitrust laws poses a threat to the rule of law.
We write in support of your Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery Executive Order (EO). As the focus turns toward restarting the economy and society, this EO will give businesses the flexibility they need to reopen their doors, create jobs, and safely get Americans back to work.
Journalists and academics seem convinced that artificial intelligence is often biased against women and racial minorities. If Washington’s new facial recognition law is a guide, legislators see the same problem. But is it true? It’s not hard to find patterns in AI decisions that have a disparate impact on protected groups. Is this bias? And if so, whose?
The Administration cannot order the FCC and FTC, both independent agencies, to take any actions. While the executive order's more limited approach – petitioning the FCC for rulemaking and directing the FCC to 'consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law' – is permissible, the FCC rules and FTC enforcement actions that result may be unlawful. Depending on the details, they may well violate the First Amendment rights of social media platforms or interpret Section 230 in a manner inconsistent with the statutory text, its intent, and its interpretation by the courts.
May 25, 2020 marks two years since the landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, and European regulators find themselves struggling to enforce a law that has burdened the economy through enormous compliance costs and created more confusion than clarity. Meanwhile in the US, recent concerns over contact tracing and public health data during the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the tension between a person’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know. What lessons for U.S. policy can be learned through the mistakes of others? Three leading privacy experts take an in-the-trenches look at how our privacy laws work (or don’t), recent failures in the states and abroad, and what is on the horizon as state and federal lawmakers decide whether Europe’s privacy regulations belong on this side of the Atlantic.
It should not be a point of contention to say that the FCC is the agency of jurisdiction in commercial spectrum policy, but it appears to have become one. Federal law (and more than two decades of federal practice) makes clear the process by which federal agencies work with the FCC to construct a uniform, coherent federal policy. When those processes are not followed, as the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee recently observed, the interests of the United States suffer and our international leadership on spectrum matters is compromised. In the case of the Ligado Networks license modification, the FCC meticulously followed these processes. The FCC fully consulted with relevant federal agencies at each stage of the process, and proceeded in a careful, deliberate, and open manner, properly balancing competing interests and protecting critical GPS operations.
Robert Bork’s consumer welfare paradigm, which has heavily influenced the evolution of antitrust analysis and enforcement over the past 42 years, is under attack. Critics from both parties assert not only that antitrust has been unable to keep up with developments in the high tech, finance, and communications industries, but also that competition law should be weaponized and used as a tool to address broader concerns such as privacy, inequality, and political viewpoint discrimination. In response, the DOJ and FTC have launched investigations into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee has launched its own investigation into these companies and are also reviewing whether changes are necessary to existing antitrust laws. It is critical to understand the arguments at the core of the antitrust debate and what is motivating recent proposals. Will Robert Bork’s “consumer welfare” standard survive?
New Title IX Rules for Sexual Assault & Harassment
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education released new Title IX regulations governing how schools handle students' accusations of sexual assault and harassment. The regulations are intended to ensure that every accusation of sexual misconduct is taken seriously while also guaranteeing due process and a presumption of innocence for the accused. Supporters of the new rules point out that due process has been lacking on many campuses since the Obama Administration's issuance of Title IX guidance in 2011. Critics of the rules, including Joe Biden and many other Democrats, say they will make it harder for accusers to obtain justice. Our panelists will discuss the merits of the new regulations as well as the inevitable lawsuits challenging them.
Jennifer C. Braceras
Director of the Independent Women's Law Center at the Independent Women's Forum
Robert Bork’s consumer welfare paradigm, which has heavily influenced the evolution of antitrust analysis and enforcement over the past 42 years, is under attack. Critics from both parties assert not only that antitrust has been unable to keep up with developments in the high tech, finance, and communications industries, but also that competition law should be weaponized and used as a tool to address broader concerns such as privacy, inequality, and political viewpoint discrimination. In response, the DOJ and FTC have launched investigations into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee has launched its own investigation into these companies and are also reviewing whether changes are necessary to existing antitrust laws. It is critical to understand the arguments at the core of the antitrust debate and what is motivating recent proposals. Will Robert Bork’s “consumer welfare” standard survive? Featuring: Hon. Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Hon. Joshu...
In the wake of Tara Reade's allegation that former Vice President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her when he was a senator in 1993 – an allegation that Biden strongly denies – he and his supporters have finally got it right when it comes to assessing claims of sexual assault.