Snippet: If ‘Big Tech’ Is a Huge Antitrust Problem, Why Are We Ignoring Telecom? ☇

Shared on June 6, 2019

Karl Bode for Techdirt (via Nick Heer):

Oddly missing from coverage from these probes is the fact that much of this behavior by the Trump administration may (*gasp*) not be driven by a genuine interest in protecting markets and consumer welfare. For one, it’s hard to believe that an administration that has shown it’s little more than a rubber stamp for sectors like telecom is seriously worried about monopoly power. Two, it’s hard to believe an administration obsessed with nonexistent censorship is going to come at these inquiries with integrity, and not, say, as a vessel to pursue a pointed partisan persecution complex. […]

Yet again, notice how telecom gets a free pass by the Trump administration? Notice how Silicon Valley is demonized, but telecom’s surveillance and anti-competitive gambits see zero backlash? I don’t think it’s happenstance that this new Trump “big tech” antitrust push comes as big telecom has asked for just such a push to aid its own competitive agenda. A lot of folks on both sides of the political aisle who’d like to see more done to rein in “big tech” seem a touch oblivious to the possibility that this new antitrust push may not be entirely in good faith.

I find the double-standard frustrating in that you can opt-out of using products and services from Amazon, Google, Apple, or Facebook, yet many people only have one or two choices for ISP, one of four choices for cell carrier (at least the networks the services run on), and many of these have engaged in nefarious behavior. For recent examples, Apple running the App Store and offering Keynote as a free download is probably less of an existential threat than carriers selling location data. You can opt-out of a mobile platform or social network for one of the (albeit few) alternatives. You may not be able to opt-out of your ISP.

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