Public Knowledge Applauds Bill Creating Digital Regulator To Rein In Big Tech

New bill draws on Public Knowledge concepts to create a digital regulator overseeing the technology sector.

Today, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the “Digital Platform Commission Act.” The bill would create an independent agency to serve as a digital regulator for the technology sector in order to enhance competition, protect consumers, and promote civic discourse and democracy. The bill draws on regulatory concepts first articulated by Public Knowledge Senior Vice President Harold Feld in his 2019 book, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act,” as well as advocacy by Public Knowledge President and CEO Chris Lewis, Public Knowledge Policy Counsel Alex Petros, Competition Policy Director Charlotte Slaiman, and former Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman. Public Knowledge commends Sen. Bennet for creating a digital regulator to be the “cop on the beat” to serve the public interest and foster a healthier, more competitive digital marketplace.

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

Four years ago, Public Knowledge highlighted the increasing importance of digital platforms to our economy, our daily lives, and even our democracy itself and called for rules of the road to protect consumers and promote competition. In 2019, we published a blueprint for an agency that would have the expertise and authority to rein in Big Tech and protect the public interest. Since then, we have seen scandal after scandal highlighting how the unique nature of digital platforms allows these unsupervised tech giants to deceive consumers in an ever increasing number of ways, manipulate users, and wield their power to unfairly crush potential competitors. But while the European Union and other countries have acted to address the proliferating consumer harms, the United States has remained a step behind.

“Sen. Bennet’s ‘Digital Platform Commission Act’ takes the first, important step to comprehensively protect consumers and the public interest in the digital world. In line with recommendations from Public Knowledge, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, and others, the proposed Digital Platform Commission would have the power to examine the opaque ways digital platforms operate, create rules to protect consumers, and promote fair competition. As an independent commission, the DPC would resist efforts by any future president of either party to manipulate these civic spaces for political advantage. Combined with existing bills to give DoJ and FTC new competition tools, and congressional action to implement privacy legislation, the ‘Digital Platform Commission Act’ would create the needed rules of the road to protect our digital future, and the needed full-time cop on the beat to enforce these rules.”

View our book, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act,” to learn more about why we need a digital regulator.

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