Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday criticized the Commerce Department’s response to the European Union’s efforts to regulate US technology companies, saying Secretary Gina Raimondo should “stop defending these monopolists from scrutiny.”
Warren’s comments were a response to a video of the former Rhode Island governor discussing legislation moving through the European Union that seeks to regulate major players like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
In the video, Raimondo said the US has “serious concerns” that two pieces of legislation being considered by the European Union “will disproportionately impact US-based tech firms and their ability to adequately serve EU customers and uphold security and privacy standards.”
Raimondo added that the EU intends to use the legislation “to create a fair, transparent, and safe digital space” and encouraged officials “to continue listening to our concerns by stakeholders before finalizing their decision.”
Warren said Raimondo’s statement is “wrong” and contradicts President Biden’s “July announcement that ‘small number of dominant Internet platforms’ are undermining our economy and must be held accountable.”
This is wrong - and contradicts the President's July announcement that a "small number of dominant Internet platforms" are undermining our economy and must be held accountable. @SecRaimondo should stop defending these monopolists from scrutiny and contradicting that policy. https://t.co/T3ARRADwAl— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 8, 2021
The Commerce Department did not immediately return a request for comment.
In July, Biden signed an executive order that aims to crack down on large technology companies by scrutinizing mergers, including those that have already been completed, more heavily, among other measures.
The Digital Markets Act, one of the pieces of legislation Raimondo referenced, would designate some major technology companies as “gatekeepers” and subject them to certain restrictions and regulations, including bans on elevating their own content or products above others’ within their platforms and allowing users to access the data they generate while using the platforms.
Warren’s criticism came after Raimondo on Tuesday met with the European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, during which the two discussed next steps after the US and EU’s Trade and Technology Council met in September, the Commerce Department said in a statement.
Warren has been a vocal advocate of breaking up large technology companies — and a critic of the billionaires who lead them, saying the platforms harm small businesses and use private information shared by users to make money. The issue served as one of her key platforms during her presidential bid in 2020.
Social media giants like Facebook have come under scrutiny over harmful content and misinformation that can spread on the platforms. The CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter have testified before Congress to discuss the misinformation that proliferates on their websites.
Amanda Kaufman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.