Culture

Klobuchar is cooking up a bill to prevent Big Tech from buying out the competition

It will likely face opposition from Republicans.

PATRICK SEMANSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar — of office supplies throwing infamy — is reportedly working on proposing broad changes to how Big Tech operates, especially when it comes to what some critics believe to be monopolies over the marketplace. When it comes to acquisitions, according to the Wall Street Journal, Klobuchar wants to ensure that powerful companies can prove that they don't "create an appreciable risk of materially lessening competition."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Klobuchar will face stiff resistance from her Republican peers. Many of them do not see eye to eye with the Democrat as far as power deals go, and do not appear eager to push antitrust laws that could hold bigger tech companies from crushing smaller competitors. But this has not discouraged Klobuchar, according to the report, as she is hoping to rely on the Democratic power over the current Senate.

If her Democratic peers agree with her, she may be able to take her proposals forward and even introduce effective legislation. "Our laws have to be as sophisticated as those that are messing around with competition," the senator said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Background — If Klobuchar's proposals take effect, the United States government will have power to hold tech companies accountable and ask them to prove that their acquisitions are not harmful for healthy competition in the marketplace. The proposals, of course, take aim at giants like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and others. The proposal also calls for more funding for agencies like the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission. It also would increase punishment for companies found guilty of crushing competition by boosting financial penalties up by 15 percent.

Mark Zuckerberg's company could be significantly attacked by this set of proposals from Klobuchar. The company's record of acquiring third-party apps, evident in leaked emails about Instagram, has increasingly rattled lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Google, too, would have to prove to lawmakers that its search engine does not have a monopoly on advertising, results, and marketing on the internet. Amazon would also have to get straightforward about the data it takes from third-party vendors.

Of course, this is all theoretical right now. Before any of this takes off, Klobuchar has to face and defeat opposition from within the Senate. And that could take a long, long time.