The US government is finally moving at the speed of technology

in summer For 2017, major in Washington Monthly, a magazine focused on politics in the capital, asked me to cover a heartbreaking story: The Democratic Party had included Antitrust division of the 2018 “Better Deal” mid-term agenda.

I use the term “bomb” for irony. The monthly He’s been posting nuanced stories about lax antitrust enforcement fees for a decade, to little fanfare. Now, finally, the holders of power were attentive. To the general public, some public statements about economic concentration in a document that hardly anyone cared about didn’t make for a major story. But in our corner of the world of politics, in 2017, was just hearing Chuck Schumer speak the word “Antitrust. ” definitive went on the cover.

I’ve been thinking about this experience lately, as antitrust titles seem to be everywhere. it’s a frequently I suggested Law and government cannot keep up with the pace of technology. However, the events of the past few weeks suggest that recent efforts to regulate the largest tech companies may be an exception to this rule. Amazon Prime membership didn’t even exist until 2005, 11 years after Amazon was founded, and it didn’t even reach 20 million subscribers. Until 2013. Google was 10 years old when it launched the Chrome browser. Facebook has been around for eight years before it bought Instagram and 10 when it acquired WhatsApp.

Now think about antitrust. Four years ago, Lina Khan had just graduated from law school for a month, where she had published a groundbreaking book Article – Commodity Arguing that prevailing legal doctrine was allowing Amazon to get away with anti-competitive behavior. Antitrust law was not yet a high-profile issue, and many law firms considered Khan’s suggestion that it might apply to technology companies whose core consumer offerings were free or cheap. This week, it was Khan, the 32-year-old ever Eye Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, one of the two agencies best able to enforce competition law. Meanwhile, Congress has introduced a raft of bills representing the most ambitious bipartisan proposals to update antitrust law in decades, with the tech industry as their explicit target. In other words, politics may finally move at the speed of technology.

In hindsight, the best thing about Better Deal seems to be that it didn’t mention tech companies at all. Until that point, the anti-monopoly movement in the political circles of the capital was more focused on traditional industries. Khan started writing about merging in businesses like Meat canning And the Halloween candy. Silicon Valley still seems politically untouchable. She wrote at the time that dealing with the likes of Facebook and Google “will require angering some of the most important and wealthy Democratic donors, something the party has yet to reveal its appetite for.”

How did things change so quickly? No one smokes guns, but rather a buildup of grievances that has made Democrats and Republicans more and more against tech companies. For Democrats, the main factor was the creeping sense that social media platforms, whatever the political leanings of their founders, helped Donald Trump get elected. Cambridge Analytica scandal on Facebook In 2018, those doubts shipped. Meanwhile, investigative reports continued to find evidence of far-right and racist material being spread on social media. At the same time — and partly in reaction to social media platforms that apply more aggressive moderation of content to mollify both liberal advertisers and critics — conservatives have been more concerned than ever that liberals in Silicon Valley are discriminating against them. Republican politicians were watchingتابع political efficacy From that talking point.

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