President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at cracking down on Big Tech and promoting competition.
The move points to President Biden’s desire for tougher scrutiny of Big Tech, which the administration has accused of “undermining competition”.
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation,” he said at Friday’s signing event.
The order includes 72 actions and recommendations involving ten agencies.
It suggests that problems have arisen because of large tech firms collecting too much personal information, buying up potential competitors and competing unfairly with small businesses.
Several recommendations it sets out include:
- Greater scrutiny of mergers in the tech sector
- New rules to be set out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on data collection
- Barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.
The Biden administration is also targeting a number of other sectors with the order.
It encourages other government agencies to take action to improve competition across healthcare, travel and agriculture.
Once fully implemented, it would allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, for example, as well as the ban of early exit fees from internet contracts. It also intends to make it easier for consumers to claim refunds from airlines.
President Biden said that the order seeks to limit the use of “non-compete agreements” as a condition of getting a job, which he claimed can make it harder for people to change jobs and therefore limits wages.
The executive order alone, however, does not mean these recommendations will come into force immediately.
The government agencies responsible will need to implement the changes, while some elements could be subject to court challenges.
The US Chamber of Commerce criticized the order, saying it was “built on the flawed belief that our economy is over-concentrated, stagnant and fails to generate private investment needed to spur innovation”.
It comes weeks after the House Judiciary Committee also voted to approve a series anti-trust bills, which could eventually become law and force big tech firms to transform or even break up their businesses.