Big Tech critics launch new project
A collection of critics of Big Tech companies on Tuesday launched the Tech Oversight Project, a new group focused on pushing regulation through Congress.
The group is being funded primarily by the Omidyar Network, the philanthropic network of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and the Economic Security Project, a nonprofit led by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.
Both former tech executives have been critical of the current iteration of Big Tech and have pushed for greater regulation.
The new organization will take a “campaign-style” approach to the issue, including polling, rapid response and paid media to try to push lawmakers toward policy.
The first major issue the Tech Oversight Project will focus on is antitrust reform.
“We are at a watershed moment with bipartisan support to finally break up the Big Tech monopolies that hurt consumers and small businesses,” Sacha Haworth, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
“Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon all know that; that’s why they’re pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into swampy lobbying efforts to deceive voters and run down the clock on antitrust reform,” she added. “Simply put: We won’t let that happen.”
Despite a growing backlash to tech companies in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, no comprehensive regulation aimed at the industry has managed to make its way through Congress.
Antitrust reform has seen more movement than other areas, with a suite of bills being approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year, albeit on fine margins for some of the more aggressive proposals.
The Tech Oversight Project will be working to promote the American Innovation and Choice Online Act early on.
The legislation, which would block the biggest tech companies from favoring their own products, was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) in the fall and could face consideration before a committee as early as this week.
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