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  • Caspar James - Tech Journalist

Tim Wu hired by the Biden administration to take on Big Tech

Tim Wu joins the National Economic Council as a special assistant to President Biden for technology and competition policy, therefore bringing one of the most outspoken critics of Big Tech’s power into The White House administration. Wu, one of the harshest critics of Silicon Valley groups and is the man who coined the phrase 'net neutrality' in the 2000s. He is a Columbia University law professor and brings in a valuable perspective on the influence of companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple and will give the Biden administration the insight to work with Congress on legislation to strengthen antitrust laws. In his campaign, Biden had stated that he would be open to breaking up tech companies.

Wu's legal insight into big tech will take on the confrontational approach which was initiated during the Trump administration. Both Google and Facebook had been sued by federal and state regulators accusing them of antitrust violations in late 2020, with regulators continuing to investigate Apple and Amazon for anti-competitive claims.

Biden was skeptical about social media companies and the legal shield known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and he wants the Section 230 revoked as soon as is possible. Tech companies have been fighting against new antitrust laws and regulations and as a result they have a very strong lobbying force in Washington.

In Wu's book published in 2018, he wrote “Extreme economic concentration yields gross inequality and material suffering, feeding the appetite for nationalistic and extremist leadership.The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. Most visible in our daily lives is the great power of the tech platforms, especially Google, Facebook and Amazon”

In his new role at the National Economic Council, Wu will focus on competition policy, competition in labour policy, noncompete clauses enforced by companies, and concentration in power in agriculture and the drug industry. His role will not require any Senate approval.

Will big tech now take notice and reign in their power of monopoly to comply with the new administration, or will they continue to surge ahead dominating their positions?





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