Senate Democrat proposes forming Big Tech watchdog

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Thursday, July 15, 2021 to discuss the Child Tax Credit payments being sent out.
Greg Nash

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would create a new federal watchdog to regulate the country’s biggest technology companies.

The Federal Digital Platform Commission would have five members responsible for protecting consumers by developing and enforcing guardrails on Big Tech.

“As a country, we should take pride that most of the world’s leading tech companies were founded in America. But they aren’t start-ups anymore,” Bennet said in a statement.

“It’s past time for a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to regulating digital platforms that have amassed extraordinary power over our economy, society, and democracy,” he added.

Regulation of tech companies has traditionally been split between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, both of which are in the midst of active lawsuits against Silicon Valley companies over alleged antitrust violations.

Their focus on competition and jurisdiction over the rest of the economy have left them short of sufficient resources to regulate tech, Bennet argued in a press release accompanying the bill.

The Federal Digital Platform Commission’s more narrow focus would allow it to “protect the public interest through common sense rules and oversight for complex and powerful sectors of the economy,” the Colorado lawmaker said in a statement.

The commission would be given authority to hold hearings, conduct investigations, create new rules and issue civil penalties.

Tags Big tech Federal Digital Platform Commission Michael Bennet Michael Bennet tech companies tech regulation

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