California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Continue reading California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

A former Twitter security chief may be Elon Musk’s white knight in the billionaire’s effort to get out of his contract to purchase Twitter for $54.20 per share ($44 billion). Peiter Zatko filed a whistleblower disclosure to Congress and federal agencies claiming Twitter not only deceived shareholders and the public by misrepresenting its bot count and security measures, but also alleging “that one or more current employees may be working for a foreign intelligence service,” according to CNN. If true, the allegations would violate a 2011 agreement between Twitter and the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

FTC Chair Khan Calls for Privacy Rules and Data Limitations

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan says it’s time for the FTC and Congress to deliver on consumer privacy protection, legislating to ensure that consumers don’t have to surrender personal data in order to enjoy online tools that are essential to everyday life. Speaking Monday at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2022 in Washington, D.C., Khan emphasized creating “substantive limits rather than just procedural protections” when it comes to personal data. Meanwhile, Big Tech did its own lobbying on behalf of consumer privacy. Continue reading FTC Chair Khan Calls for Privacy Rules and Data Limitations

Nvidia Calls Off $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm from Softbank

Nvidia has scrapped plans to buy Arm from Softbank Group due to “significant regulatory challenges preventing the consummation of the transaction,” according to a joint statement that indicates Arm will proceed with plans for an IPO. In what is being positioned as a coincidence of timing, Arm says Simon Segars has resigned as CEO with Rene Haas, formerly president, stepping into the role. After being announced in September 2020, the $40 billion deal faced opposition from both the European Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, which in December sued to block the sale. Continue reading Nvidia Calls Off $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm from Softbank

FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

The Federal Trade Commission is taking an alternative approach to antitrust protections and Big Tech, focusing not on the ultimate harms of monopolies to consumers but rather the damage perpetrated by the giants inflicted on smaller companies that are often their partners. For an agency that since the mid-80s has focused its antitrust actions on the price-gouging or shoddy goods that usually result from consolidation, the new strategy may be an effective way to rein-in companies that offer their services free of charge, like Google and Facebook, or at what appears to be market rate, like Amazon. Continue reading FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

FTC Says Social Media Has Become Goldmine for Scammers

Consumers were cheated out of $770 million by social media scams last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which said the number accounts for roughly one-fourth of fraud losses for the year. New scams involving e-commerce and cryptocurrency helped boost the haul, which was 18 times greater than the $42 million in social media fraud the FTC tracked for 2017. As a result, incidences of younger victims grew, with adults 18-to-39 reporting fraud losses 2.4 times more than adults 40 and over. Investment and romance scams were also high on the list.  Continue reading FTC Says Social Media Has Become Goldmine for Scammers

Judge Rules That FTC Can Proceed with Meta Antitrust Case

A federal judge has allowed a Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit against Facebook to proceed, denying dismissal, a major victory for the agency as it gears up to take on Big Tech. The FTC claims the company, which since renamed itself Meta Platforms, accrued monopoly power and abused it by harming competition through an acquisitions strategy described as “buy or bury.” The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruling is seen as a warning to tech behemoths like Amazon, Apple and Google and the armies of lobbyists and lawyers employed to protect their interests. Continue reading Judge Rules That FTC Can Proceed with Meta Antitrust Case

FTC Files Lawsuit to Block $40 Billion Nvidia Purchase of Arm

The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of UK-based semiconductor IP firm Arm, claiming it would stifle competition and hurt consumers. In October, the European Commission cited like reasoning when it launched an investigation into the purchase. Arm licenses its chip and software technology to a about 500 companies, including Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, TSMC and Nvidia. The major concern is whether the purchase would provide Nvidia an unfair competitive advantage. The global chip shortage and opposition on both sides of the pond dim the deal’s prospects. Continue reading FTC Files Lawsuit to Block $40 Billion Nvidia Purchase of Arm

Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon not only added workers to keep up with surging demand, it nearly doubled the size of its fulfillment network, adding 450 new facilities for storage, sorting and shipping, according to MWPVL International, a supply chain logistics consultancy. The e-commerce giant now has 930 facilities across the U.S. where it employs more than 950,000 people, according to its Q2 earnings report. While it’s hiring and infrastructure expansion have largely been concentrated near big cities, which helps mitigate supply-chain disruptions while also speeding shipping times, Amazon is still urging holiday shoppers to order early. Continue reading Amazon Positioned for Holiday Crunch with Network Buildout

Apple Self Service Repair Shop Is Good News for Consumers

In what’s billed as a major triumph in the “right to repair” movement, Apple says it will begin selling the parts and tools to allow people to make their own iPhone repairs. The movement gained momentum in July when the FTC announced it would step up enforcement against tech firms that made gadget repairs difficult for consumers and small businesses. Microsoft, which along with Apple, Google and Amazon had lobbied against the FTC effort, in October announced it was joining Dell, HP and Motorola in getting a jump on “right to repair” legislation. Continue reading Apple Self Service Repair Shop Is Good News for Consumers

FTC Is Considering the Need for Stricter Online Privacy Rules

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into establishing stronger online privacy protections that would hold businesses such as Facebook, Google and Twitter more responsible for how they handle consumer data. The early discussions, under the leadership of new chair and vocal Big Tech critic Lina Khan, are addressing the possibility of introducing FTC regulation due to what is perceived as gridlock in Congress in creating a federal law. Privacy and civil rights groups have advocated for a single federal law — similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — rather than state laws (or no regulation at all). Continue reading FTC Is Considering the Need for Stricter Online Privacy Rules

FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

The Federal Trade Commission released Comscore figures showing Facebook’s marketplace dominance. From September 2012 through December 2020, the network generated 92 percent of the monthly time U.S. users spent on social media. In contrast, the combined market shares of Snap, Google+, MeWe and Friendster never exceeded 18 percent in any month during that time frame. A federal judge dismissed the case in June noting that the FTC did not offer details of its monopoly claim; these findings are now part of the FTC’s lawsuit. Continue reading FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge James Boasberg dismissed antitrust lawsuits against social media giant Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states. The judge said the states waited too long to bring up a case on deals made in 2012 and 2014 and that prosecutors failed to prove that Facebook holds a monopoly over social networking. The FTC can bring the case back in 30 days but the judge said it would require a lot more detail. Facebook’s stock rose 4.2 percent in the wake of the news. Continue reading Court Dismisses FTC, States Antitrust Suit Against Facebook

Antitrust Law Authority Lina Khan Appointed Chair of the FTC

In a largely bipartisan vote, the Senate appointed antitrust law expert and Columbia Law School associate professor Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission after earlier adding her to the agency. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced Khan’s appointment as FTC chair. At 32 years of age, Khan is the youngest person to ever join and lead the FTC. The legal scholar has also been a consistent critic of Big Tech, so her confirmation is evidence that lawmakers from both political parties agree that it is time to further evaluate the growing dominance of those companies. Continue reading Antitrust Law Authority Lina Khan Appointed Chair of the FTC

MoviePass Settles with FTC Over Fraud, Data Security Issues

MoviePass, which shut its doors in January 2019, just settled with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it prevented customers from using the service as advertised and did not protect their data privacy. The company offered users one movie ticket per day for any movie at any theater for $9.95 a month but soon had to raise subscription fees and limit movie tickets. The FTC accused the company of deceptively marketing its services, invalidating customer passwords to prevent users from obtaining tickets, and failing to secure user data. Continue reading MoviePass Settles with FTC Over Fraud, Data Security Issues