Biden Administration Ramps Up Tech Regulation Ahead of November Election


As the November 5 election approaches, the Biden administration is intensifying its regulatory efforts, particularly targeting so-called Big Tech. After advocates failed to pass antitrust reforms through Congress, the administration took up the fight in its regulatory agencies. President Biden appointed law professor Lina Khan to lead the Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Kanter to head the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

The most recent example of the administration’s efforts is the deal between the FTC and DOJ to investigate Nvidia and Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI. Khan stated that the FTC wants to ensure competition and disruption in the AI space, rather than allowing dominant firms to maintain their dominance. Critics, however, have expressed doubts, with Tom Hebert, director of competition and regulatory policy at Americans for Tax Reform, calling the antitrust attacks on AI an “illegitimate use of government power” that could put the US behind China in the global AI race.

The Biden administration is also opposing established business practices in the tech space. A federal court has ordered a bench trial in a DOJ case against Google, alleging that the company monopolized open web display advertising markets. Cases against Amazon, Meta, and Apple are ongoing.

The telecommunications industry has also come under regulatory scrutiny, with the Biden administration calling for the reinstatement of net neutrality rules. The Federal Communications Commission has complied, reinstating open-internet rules and reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecom service. Challenges to the regulations will be heard in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The administration has also filed a lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster, accusing the company of being a monopolist and engaging in “unlawful conduct” that thwarts competition in the live entertainment industry. Critics have asserted that the case is a politically motivated attempt to appeal to younger voters.

The influence of these crackdowns on technology industries and antitrust enforcement on the presidential election remains to be seen. A recent poll found that 77% of voters in battleground states want the next president to focus on expanding technology jobs and services, rather than regulating Amazon, Google, and Apple.

Jessica Melugin
Jessica Melugin
Jessica Melugin is director of the Center for Technology & Innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Her research focuses on technology issues including antitrust, online privacy, artificial intelligence, telecommunications, social media content and net neutrality regulation. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, Bloomberg Law, National Review and others.

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