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The end of tech's laissez-faire was – Axios



This week's series of big government moves against the big tech platforms has dropped on the era of hands-off regulatory policy that shaped the firms.

Why it matters: A generation of companies led by Google and Facebook that grew rich and powerful while the Feds stayed out of their way must now adjust to government action as a way of life. Meanwhile, legislators and regulators will have to figure out how to protect the public while preserving the industry's vitality and creativity.

  • Driving the news:

    • On Wednesday, Facebook announced settlements with the FTC to end a long-running consumer privacy investigation and a separate deal with SEC over disclosure issues
    • On Wednesday afternoon, though, Facebook revealed that it was notified in June about a fresh probe from the FTC's antitrust unit, said to be focused on the company's core social networking business
    • All that comes just a day after Justice Department announced its own antitrust probe into Big Tech that
    • Meanwhile, the Justice Department is reportedly in favor of the T-Mobile-Sprint deal with the proviso that the combined company sells the spectrum and its Boost prepaid brand to Dish Network. 19659008] The big picture: These moves have multiplied as a result of a rare convergence of bipartisan discontent with Big Tech

      • Democrats used to love tech's innovation and idealism, and Republicans used to believe in leaving business alone.
      • Today, the Democrats distrust the rising power of privacy-wrecking surveillance capitalism, and Republicans feel that tech platforms are biased against their conservative politics
      • Yes, bu t: Inquiries and settlements are one thing and changing behavior is quite another. Critics say the FTC deal with Facebook does not substantially change the way the company does business, nor is it a $ 5 billion fine and a significant deterrent, given how much profits from its practices.

        • Some, including recently the New York Times' Charlie Warzel, argue that the current U.S.
        • In other circles, insiders are beginning to talk about the prospect of a broad new Telecommunications Act that would wrap privacy and data ownership rules, antitrust safeguards, and content regulations into one big package.
        • Since the current Congress has not even been able to get a bill focused only on privacy moving, either of these scenarios would have to play on a long horizon

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