A Big Tech Agency? Amend the Law - Don't Expand DC

The old joke is - DC would eventually open a Department of Redundancy Department.

The old reality is - DC has already opened MANY of them.

And that horrible, heinous place - is looking to create yet another.

A Federal Watchdog to Police Big Tech? Yeah, That'll Do the Trick, Senators...:

“Two US Senators have proposed legislation to create a government commission to tame Big Tech, an often uttered goal on both sides of the political aisle that has yet to be realized.

“Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday introduced a bill called the Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act of 2023, which aims to amend the the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to ‘establish a new federal commission to regulate digital platforms, including with respect to competition, transparency, privacy, and national security.’”

Yet again, DC’s knee-jerk response to a problem - is to expand DC.  Shocker.  Never let a crisis go to waste….

Here’s a thought or two I had hoped would occur - to at least the allegedly-less-government Republican Senator in this two person gaggle.

Of COURSE a 1914 law has a difficult time applying to Big Tech.  Since, you know, Big Tech arrived on the scene - nearly a century after the law did.

But why would a Republican think the answer to that - is yet another government agency?

You know, Senator Elephant, you can amend the ancient Clayton Act - without yet again massively expanding DC.

How about amending the Clayton Act to apply to Big Tech - within the current confines of the MANY existing bureaucracies already charged with dealing with ALL of this?

We already have MANY redundant agencies that deal with national security.

The terrible terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 happened - with at least the National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) allegedly on the beat to allegedly prevent it.

DC’s response?  Not improve - heavens no.  Expand.  Create the huge, hulking, hydra-headed monstrosity that is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

One hydra-head - is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  Which has nothing better to do with its exorbitantly expensive time - since it has never caught a terrorist - than to steal our stuff along with our money.

The Top 20 Airports for TSA Theft

Between 2003 and 2018, 400 TSA Agents Were Arrested for Theft of Passenger Items - Not One Terrorist Was Caught

Meanwhile, we have at least two bureaucracies that deal with precisely the antitrust and business practice concerns the Senators’ brainless-storm new agency would deal:

“The senators' proposed Digital Consumer Protection Commission - or DCPC - sounds a lot like the FTC, whose boss Lina Khan has been trying to carry out the Biden administration's plan to moderate Big Tech, though without much success….

“The US Department of Justice, which also handles antitrust cases, did notch a recent victory by preventing book publisher Penguin Random House from acquiring Simon & Schuster – not really relevant to Big Tech.

“It has also filed search (2020) and advertising (2023) complaints against Google. Those cases remain unresolved and the usual suspects of Big Tech – Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft – have yet to be inconvenienced by impotent political fuming about platform power.”

The reason these two existing bureaucracies are having a bit of bother applying the law to Big Tech?

Is because the law - doesn’t apply to Big Tech.  Given the intervening near-centenary and all that.

The solution is simple:

Amend the law - so it does apply.

And I know DC will be operating against muscle memory?

But I really wish it would try to resist the urge to expand itself whilst so doing.


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  • Seton Motley