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House Judiciary Committee GOP Members Outline Big Tech Framework

Republican members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee outlined their framework for Big Tech regulation, which came on the heels of the advancement of six new bipartisan bills intended to curb anti-competitive practices, CNBC reported on Wednesday (July 7).

The agenda is meant to act as a road map for new legislation aimed at controlling the power of Big Tech, a Republican aide said, per the news outlet. The proposals could have deep ramifications for companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Members in both parties have misgivings concerning the bills and it’s unlikely any of the six proposed laws will go to the floor in the near future. However, the proposed legislation could show where overlap between parties resides, as well as where significant differences lay, CNBC noted.

The agenda addresses three areas: speed — most likely to have bipartisan support — accountability and transparency, according to the report. The speed aspect deals with giving state attorneys general the ability to fast-track antitrust cases and have a say in where such cases would be heard. It also concerns facilitating ways to expedite antitrust cases against big technology firms.

In terms of accountability and transparency, Republicans are looking to reform the legal liability shield — Section 230 — extended to technology companies, with a suggestion that grants individuals the power to “directly challenge Big Tech in court for its censorship and silencing of conservatives,” according to the agenda, per CNBC. That aspect of the proposal is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Communications Decency Act.

The House Judiciary Committee voted last month to approve legislation pertaining to curtailing the influence of large technology companies in the U.S. The package of six bills was created from the 450-page April report outlining the Committee’s Big Tech antitrust probe.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week eased the standards for competition lawsuits with the rescinding of a 2015 policy statement. The old statement was removed in favor of promoting consumer welfare. According to reports, Republicans voted against getting rid of the statement and Democrats were in favor of keeping it.

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