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Rep. Zoe Lofgren has traditionally been seen as an ally of tech. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A Democrat interested in her party's top spot on a key committee said Friday that Congress should examine how large companies' data holdings relate to competition among businesses.

Why it matters:

  • If that came to fruition, it would have big implications for Google, Facebook and Amazon, which critics say have tremendous market power thanks to all the data they hold on their users.
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California — a tech industry ally — is interested in running for the top Democratic seat on the House Judiciary Committee, which Rep. John Conyers occupied before he stepped aside during a pending investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.
  • Her comments are a sign of the burgeoning Democratic interest in confronting the dominance of major web platforms. Lofgren has faced pressure over her support for large tech companies from the left as the race to replace Conyers gets going.

The details: "Competition is good for innovation, it's good for the economy, and that's the goal." said Lofgren after her appearance at a briefing on web platforms held for congressional staff, when asked about how an examination of antitrust policy could apply to Silicon Valley.

  • "I think there are other elements of competition policy that may also matter, in terms of who owns your data and other things," she said at the panel. "This is going to be a multi-year process no doubt."

Yes, but: Even if she were to snag Conyers' seat, the top member of a minority party only has so much power on a committee. "The ranking member as you know doesn't set the agenda, the Republicans do," said Lofgren.

The post has been updated to reflect that Rep. John Conyers has already stepped aside as the Judiciary Committee's ranking member during a pending investigation.

Go deeper

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening many with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.