A side by side of President Joe Biden and FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan.

The White House/Flickr (Public Domain) c-span.org

Biden order urges FTC to crack down on big tech data practices

The executive order urges the FTC to tackle a number of tech issues.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Jul 9, 2021   Updated Aug 4, 2021, 3:47 pm CDT

President Joe Biden is expected to sign a sweeping executive order today that will—among numerous other things—encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to crack down on big tech data collection.

Biden’s order, which touches on numerous economic sectors and is aimed at encouraging competition in the country’s economy, specifically urges the FTC to “establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.”

In a fact sheet about the executive order provided by the White House, it notes that big tech companies are “gathering too much personal information.”

“Many of the large platforms’ business models have depended on the accumulation of extraordinary amounts of sensitive personal information and related data,” the fact sheet reads.

It also urges the FTC to tackle a number of other tech issues. FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, who was confirmed by the Senate last month and quickly named the chair of the agency, has been a vocal critic of big tech companies in the past.

Biden’s order encourages the agency to also “establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.” The fact sheet gives an example of companies running online retail marketplaces that can see how products from small businesses are selling and use that data to launch their own competing products.

This allows them to “display their own copycat products more prominently than the small businesses’ products,” the fact sheet notes.

While the administration did not specifically name any companies, Amazon has faced criticism in the past for using data about independent sellers and then developing their own products, as a Wall Street Journal report from last year noted.

Finally, Biden’s order will also encourage the FTC to create rules about “right to repair,” or cracking down on companies creating “anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment.”


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*First Published: Jul 9, 2021, 9:49 am CDT