In the U.S.A.’s tech-driven economy, is enough being done to protect consumer choice and privacy? | The TechTank Podcast

Federal Trade Chairman Joseph Simons, (L), Federal Trade Commissioners (2nd L-R), Rohit Chopra, Noah Phillips, Rebecca Slaughter and Christine Wilson testify on the "Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission" before the U.S. Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Subcommittee in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Today antitrust enforcement, competition policy, and privacy are hot button issues in the U.S. and around the world. Critics of tech giants like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook say they are powerful monopolists with too much control over people’s on-line activities, too much access to personal data, and maximize shareholder profit at the expense of consumers, workers, and even democracy itself. The debate over the lack of competition is not limited to the tech platforms. Consumers are increasingly frustrated with their limited options in other industries, such as hospitals, airlines, and internet service providers.

Congress has joined the debate with many members asking whether America’s current antitrust laws are up to the task of ensuring competitive markets in a 21st century tech-driven economy. The Biden administration has appointed enforcers at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice who share these concerns and are committed to more assertive antitrust enforcement.

Stepping in as guest host for this episode of TechTank is Bill Baer, former Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and former Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission, now a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. Bill will be joined by FTC Commissioner and former acting chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter to discuss the FTC’s efforts to promote competition, protect privacy, and challenge unfair and deceptive practices.

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From artificial intelligence and racial bias in algorithms, to Big Tech, the future of work, and the digital divide, TechTank takes abstract ideas and makes them accessible. Moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West speak with leading technology experts and policymakers to share new data, ideas, and policy solutions to address the challenges of our new digital world.