Key Republican warns Big Tech: Step up or be regulated
Rep. Greg Walden. Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios
The chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an attack on the market power of large tech companies Wednesday. "I’m not looking for a lot of regulation, I’m looking for responsibility," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said at an Axios event. "If responsibility doesn’t flow, then regulation will."
Why it matters: Walden leads the House committee tasked with overseeing technology issues.
Walden raised multiple areas for possible regulation:
- Liability for online platforms, which the House addressed Tuesday by passing a bill that allows victims of sex trafficking to sue web platforms that knowingly facilitated the crime
- Digital political advertisements of the sort that Russian operatives bought during the 2016 election
- Privacy as it related to the massive tranches of data collected by online platforms
- Net neutrality, which Walden suggested could be applied to platforms as well as telecom companies
Our thought bubble: While Walden was cautious in announcing any specific action, this is striking talk coming from a pro-industry Republican with close ties to House leadership.