Mar 2, 2021 - Politics

Bipartisan Colorado officials take aim at Big Tech

Illustration of two spotlights, one blue and one red, on a cursor.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado officials are taking a leading role in the efforts to challenge Big Tech, both in Congress and the courts.

What's happening: The attention to the issue is bipartisan and the proposed solutions overlap.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a member of a House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust issues, says the right approach is boosting competition rather than breaking up big companies.

  • The Colorado Republican wants consumers to be able to take their data between companies, much like a cell phone number, and require platforms to work with each other and not lock in consumers.
  • He also believes regulators should raise the bar for mergers and boost legal enforcement of antitrust laws.
  • "Google and Amazon are the most obvious offenders at this point in terms of their mergers and acquisitions and really stifling innovation and competition in the marketplace," Buck tells Axios.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, is tackling the issue in the courts as the lead plaintiff challenging Google's dominance of the search engine market and a co-signer on a lawsuit against Facebook.

  • If the lawsuits are successful, Weiser says he believes the companies should divest from certain assets, a way to break them apart.
  • He also sees a role for Congress to provide greater oversight where the courts fall short and wants to see rules to block discriminatory access to platforms.
  • "We are living in a time of more economic concentration and less competition than almost any time in U.S. history," he tells Axios. "That's bad for consumers and bad for Colorado."

The bottom line: The issue of how to address Big Tech is becoming a more political one, particularly in Colorado, where Amazon, Google and Facebook all have operations.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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