Top antitrust enforcer warns Big Tech over “surveillance capitalism”

  • Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim made the comments at an antitrust conference at Harvard Law School.
  • The official called out Big Tech for anti-competitive behavior and consumer protection abuses.

This week the AP reported that the government’s top antitrust official warned large technology companies they could be pursued for antitrust law violations.

Addressing an antitrust conference at Harvard Law School, Delrahim spoke out against the growing power of large tech firms which engage in mining and selling of consumer data, which he called “analogous to a new currency.”

He likened the practice to “surveillance capitalism,” a term coined by Harvard Business School professor emerita Shoshana Zuboff. Under this system, companies acquire consumer data by offering ostensibly free services and then store and sell the data to third parties, oftentimes without the knowledge of the consumers as was the case with the Cambridge Analytica scandal on 2018.

Delrahim noted this system offers numerous “avenues for abuse,” and as such these companies will be experiencing increasing levels of scrutiny from his agency.

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Categories: Business, Government, Tech

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