The news: President Joe Biden signed a sweeping executive order last week featuring 72 initiatives, some of which target corporate mergers, user privacy and data gathering practices, and propose wider access to affordable broadband internet, per Ars Technica. A White House fact sheet reveals the impetus for the order is the accelerated corporate consolidation across various industries. This, in turn, has resulted in a lack of competition and led to monopolies that are driving up prices for consumers.
What this means: The proposed order calls for the federal government to establish new rules that will all require implementation from various agencies like the FCC and the FTC.
What’s next? If successful, Biden’s executive order would make it US policy to analyze the effect of Big Tech mergers on small competitors, better protect consumer privacy, and scrutinize the ability of tech giants to amass data. It would also take into account the effects that even free products have on competition. This shows a shift in approach to antitrust policy, which has traditionally focused on anticompetitive companies pushing higher costs onto consumers.
Parts of the executive order could level the playing field and encourage competition in various industries as well as keep Big Tech companies in check. The orders will need considerable agency support and could take time to be crafted into policy.